ActionAIDS has been awarded funding for a new effort, the Prison Linkage Program, which provides case management services to clients with HIV/AIDS while incarcerated and through release from the Philadelphia county prison system. The organization has been working with the Philadelphia county jails to help people with HIV/AIDS access medical care, social services and support both while incarcerated and after release.
This funding comes from the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, which seeks to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health by targeting beneficial educational services to persons with HIV/AIDS from racial and ethnic minority groups. The funds were awarded by an independent Procurement Panelconvened by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
ActionAIDS says that it will work on issues of timely referral and retention of clients at one of the most crucial, challenging times – release from prison. The organization’s staff will be focusing on building relationships with clients, prison health providers, the criminal justice system and other community agencies.
“Ongoing medical care is crucial to enhance and prolong the lives of these clients,” the organization reports. “By ensuring continuity of medical care, ActionAIDS reduces the development of drug-resistant HIV, decreases sexual risk behaviors, and, as patients in treatment maintain low or non-detectible viral load, the risk of HIV transmission to others is reduced or eliminated. Among our client population groups, formerly incarcerated clients face the most significant barriers and challenges to accessing and continuing in care, and thus this is the most appropriate focus for this funding.”
The grant will be applied to a four-month program with more funds to be granted for ongoing programming.