by Lyndon VanderZanden, Ryan White Part D Linkage to Care Services Coordinator
Same Day Start is Howard Brown Health’s exciting new model of care for people living with HIV. It gives them the opportunity to start treatment the same day they receive their diagnosis. What this means for patients is they are given the option to immediately take control of their health and start treatment before they leave the building. Instead of receiving a diagnosis and then being told they have to wait weeks before they can actually do anything about it, patients are able to take action to stay healthy right away.
This is the most exciting part about Same Day Start. For many people, receiving an HIV diagnosis feels like a significant loss of control and power over their own health. Same Day Start puts control back in their hands and reduces the potential impacts of stigma by normalizing treatment. For our patients, it helps to ensure positive long-term health outcomes and supports them in achieving a suppressed viral load sooner. In a broader public health sense, helping people living with HIV achieve a suppressed viral load sooner also helps to reduce the risk for transmission because we know, and the CDC has now confirmed, that achieving and sustaining a suppressed viral load prevents transmission of HIV to others. In so many ways Same Day Start provides our patients living with HIV with a powerful tool to take control of their health.
Get connected to our Linkage to Care teams today!
Call 773.388.1600 to make your appointment and learn more about Same Day Start.
That’s only the beginning. Same Day Start at Howard Brown is so much more than just being able to write a prescription sooner than we used to. The advances in testing and treatment that make it possible for us to safely start a person on treatment the same day as their diagnosis are incredible, but they aren’t enough to make Same Day Start successful. To be truly successful, Same Day Start requires a team of people dedicated to providing immediate and ongoing support to our patients and clients who receive an HIV diagnosis. It requires holistic care that supports patients not only with their HIV diagnosis, but with whatever else is going on in their life. Whether it’s housing instability, mental health symptoms, lack of employment, or any of the number of other things that LGBTQ people experience at higher rates that make it difficult for a person to maintain their health, this is where our incredible Linkage to Care teams come in.
We work with our patients from the moment they receive their diagnosis, providing holistic, affirming psychosocial support, immediate connection to medical care, and the option to start treatment right away with Same Day Start. We continue to provide patients with ongoing follow up and we support them not just with starting treatment, but succeeding with it. Throughout the process of engaging in care, our Linkage to Care teams support patients by helping them navigate complex healthcare systems, communicate with their healthcare team, learn more about their diagnosis and how to be successful with treatment. We also assist them with making and attending medical appointments, provide education for coping with stigma and navigating disclosure, and connect them to other important resources like housing support, mental healthcare, support groups, benefits programs, and so much more.
Our goal at Howard Brown Health is to provide world-class, affirming healthcare to our community. Same Day Start is the latest way that we continue to provide our patients and clients with innovative, forward-thinking models of care. I’m so excited to have been a part of developing this new model and I can’t wait for our patients living with HIV to experience how Same Day Start will help them to take control of their health.
Interested in finding out more about Same Day Start or our other HIV/AIDS programs? Schedule an appointment at Howard Brown Health. Just call 773.388.1600 to get started!