Preventing Minority Populations from Dropping Off Of the HIV Care Continuum

Colleen Kelley, MD, discusses the importance of keeping all populations on the HIV care continuum, especially those who are at a disadvantage.

Segment Description: Colleen Kelley, MD, associate professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine discusses the importance of keeping all populations on the HIV care continuum, especially those who are at a disadvantage.

Interview Transcript: (modified slightly for readability):

“In general, in the care continuum, it really is about minority populations having disparate levels of awareness, access to health care, engagement in health care, and maintenance of undetectable viral load—which is the ultimate goal of the HIV care continuum, to get people who are HIV-positive undetectable and stay there durably for the rest of their lives at this point in the game.

We see drop-offs at each stage of that continuum. So, any place where you look, if you look at awareness, if you look at linkage to care, if you look at maintenance and care and durable viral suppression, there are disparities along each and every step, and so, there’s work to be done all along the continuum to ensure that minority populations achieve the same results as more advantaged populations.

I think a lot has actually been done, especially with the Ryan White Care Act, to address disadvantaged populations [getting] access to health care and maintenance of health care. I think supporting Ryan White services, and even expanding Ryan White services, to reach more people and have capacity to do more of the fantastic work they do with not only direct delivery of medical care services, but what we call the wraparound services with social services and housing help and legal aid and all those other things that we are able to provide through our Ryan White clinics. And so, maintaining those at a bare minimum, and increasing their capacity to do more in their communities, I think would be a real step forward for keeping folks in HIV care.”