by Lyndon VanderZanden, Ryan White Part D Linkage to Care Services Coordinator
Howard Brown Health’s Same Day Start program officially launched on January 1, 2018, and since then we have been astounded at the success patients have achieved.
Same Day Start is an innovative model of care for people newly diagnosed with HIV. While most models of care make you wait weeks before starting medication, Same Day Start empowers you to take control of your health immediately by giving you the opportunity to start medication the same day as diagnosis.
More than 30 patients diagnosed at Howard Brown have completed the Same Day Start process, with more doing so every week. We’ve seen Same Day Start patients achieve outstanding success with their healthcare. By starting medication, they have taken control of their health and made it possible for their immune system to function as it normally would. This is accomplished by suppressing as a person’s viral load, or the number of copies of HIV in a person’s blood. As a person’s viral load becomes suppressed the health of their immune system greatly improves, leading to better overall health, vastly improved health outcomes, greater quality of life, and a life expectancy that matches that of individuals who are not living with HIV. Most models of care don’t expect to see a person achieve viral suppression until two to three months after diagnosis. Incredibly, Same Day Start patients are achieving viral suppression in an average time of 26.53 days after diagnosis. Not only are they taking ownership over their care, they’re also redefining our expectations of what care for HIV looks like.
As an added benefit, patients are also empowered with increased agency over their sexual health as the CDC recently confirmed that maintaining a suppressed viral load prevents transmission of HIV to sexual partners. This provides people living with HIV and their partners with a powerful tool to stay in control of their sexual health.
We can’t help but marvel at the success of our patients and feel honored to be an important part of their healthcare. In such a short amount of time, they have shown that a Same Day Start model is capable of greatly improving on older models of care for people living with HIV. We can’t wait to see even more patients succeed with Same Day Start. Stay tuned for more updates!