In late March it was announced that NKY Health, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department for Public Health, would be launching a new program aimed at preventing new HIV infections in Kentucky, as well as expanding education and care for those living with HIV. This new program was developed in response to the rate of infection, which has doubled in Northern Kentucky since 2014.
Dr. Jeff Howard, Commissioner of DPH, said of the program, “This collaborative partnership will strengthen our capabilities to combat the spread of HIV in the region…With the increasing number of HIV cases linked to injection drug use, it is imperative we enhance services, education, and outreach to vulnerable populations and prevent further spread of infectious disease.” He added, “This program is a first step in creating a more innovative approach to reaching at-risk populations, strengthening our public health approaches to disease prevention and providing improved care.”
How does this impact NKY Health?
As part of the KIRP project, NKY Health will be implementing the following harm reduction initiatives, impacting new HIV infections:
- Operational expenses for three Syringe Access Exchange Programs
- Increasing strategies to promote HIV testing within the community, as well as through home-based testing initiatives
- Providing funding for staff positions
- Developing an innovative marketing campaign targeted to people who inject drugs promoting HIV testing and other harm reduction services
How does this impact community members living with HIV?
KIRP funding for the Prevention Care and Treatment Program will provide links for people living with HIV to medical care and support services. With the additional resources we will be able to enhance our federally-funded Ryan White HIV Care Coordination Program’s ability to:
- Address co-occurring infections, substance abuse and mental health issues impacting health outcomes and HIV transmission risks
- Continue to provide HIV prevention services to individuals at high-risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV
- Provide peer support specialists to offer additional resources and support to individuals living with HIV to effectively manage and control HIV infection
- Hire additional staff to help support the HIV Case Management program’s administrative and operational duties
- Offer additional assistance for services such as dental, substance use disorder treatment, transportation, housing and medical services
- Support operational items for the program