Supporting HIV Communities Impacted by the Opioid Crisis

December 5th, 2019 | News


Addressing how the opioid crisis has affected people with HIV is critical to achieving the Federal Administration’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. Even as there was a 12.7 percent overall decrease in the mortality rate among persons diagnosed with HIV from 2011-2015, the opioid overdose death rate among persons diagnosed with HIV increased by 42.7 percent. Further, in recent years, there have been spikes in both HIV and hepatitis C infections associated with opioid use disorder (OUD) across the U.S.

System-level coordination of HIV and OUD resources is an essential part of improving outcomes related to HIV testing, linkage, and retention in care, and achieving viral suppression in response to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. While there has been an influx in resources to states from federal and state agencies to address the opioid crisis, disparate funding streams and complicated state infrastructures challenge efforts to partner, share data, fund, and implement integrated, coordinated programs.

To leverage diverse OUD resources to strengthen systems of care for people with HIV and OUD, JSI and partner, NASTAD, will be providing technical assistance to nine states. This new initiative will also support the development of successful, data-driven resource coordination models with the potential for national replication.

Our state partners represent diversity in HIV prevalence, geography, demographics, policy environments, and existing initiatives–they include, Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

Our goal is to ensure people with HIV and OUD have access to behavioral health care, treatment, and recovery services. By engaging cross-sector stakeholders, leveraging HIV and OUD resources, and providing technical assistance across HIV and substance use we will measure system and service delivery changes. As a result of integrating data monitoring into our approach from the beginning, we will identify effective strategies and develop case studies that will be shared with the broader Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program community to support wide replication.

The Strengthening Systems of Care for People Living with HIV and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau under the Special Projects of National Significance program.

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