World AIDS Day
This past Friday, December 1, was World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day was created to provide the opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
Why is World AIDS Day still important? Although HIV infections and diagnoses have been steadily declining in the United States, according to the CDC 39,782 people received an HIV diagnosis in 2016 and the rate of infection is actually increasing for certain groups. Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Unfortunately, education and awareness, stigma, and lack of access to healthcare are still key issues. Many people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, lack access to healthcare services, and struggle with stigma and discrimination.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds us that HIV has not gone away – there is still a critical need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice, promote access to HIV-related health services, and improve education.
Where do we fit in? At CrossOver, we aim to do our part in the fight against HIV by promoting education and supporting those who are diagnosed and living with this condition.
Crossover has a long history of providing compassionate care to people living with HIV. In the 1990’s, our TIPS (Treatment Intervention Prevention Services) Team provided care to its first HIV+ patient, a homeless man who was able to find a true medical home at CrossOver. In 1994, Dr. Vivian Bruzzese, a Board-certified physician in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, joined the CrossOver team through a grant from VCU. In 1999, the TIPS program grew again when CrossOver received new funding from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and strengthened its collaboration with community providers.
So far in 2017, CrossOver’s TIPS team has treated 141 HIV+ patients through 215 patient visits. The TIPS program provides medical care, medical case management, non-medical case management, medications, dental care, mental health care, and transportation services for HIV+ patients at CrossOver. Through grant funding from the Virginia Department of Health, the TIPS program also offers free & confidential testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment aimed at preventing infection in high-risk populations.
With your support, CrossOver can continue to engage in this vital work and serve the most vulnerable members of our community. Please consider donating in support of all the HIV+ patients who have found a medical home at CrossOver!