Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the second report in a series that evaluates HIV testing policies and access to care. This report, which is entitled “HIV Screening and Access to Care: Exploring the Impact of Policies on Access to and Provision of HIV Care”, examines how Federal and State laws and policies and private health insurance policies affect entry into clinical care and the provision of continuous and sustained care for people with HIV. The report found that the lack of integration in State and Federal programs that assist people with HIV creates or exacerbates barriers to adequate HIV treatment. In addition, the report concludes that patients often experience medical and social difficulties as a result of their HIV status that, in turn, interfere with their HIV treatment.
In 2009, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) commissioned the IOM to convene a 15-member Committee on HIV Screening and Access to Care, which was tasked with planning and conducting a series of three workshops and activities that evaluate barriers to expanded HIV testing and treatment programs. The outcome of these efforts is the issuance of three reports that examine certain questions related to HIV testing policy and access to care. The Committee’s first report focused on the extent to which Federal and State laws and policies, private health insurance policies and practices, and other factors inhibit or promote expanded HIV testing.
The final forthcoming report in the series will focus on the current capacity of the health care system to administer a great number of HIV tests and to accommodate new HIV diagnoses.
Last July, the President released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States that includes three primary goals of (1) reducing new HIV infections; (2) increasing access to care; and (3) reducing HIV-related health disparities. Of note, the goal of increasing access to care is tied to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which will significantly expand access to care for people with HIV. This report highlights the opportunities within the Affordable Care Act to expand access, but also addresses the potential challenges we face with respect to ensuring services are coordinated and integrated to improve the quality of care for people with HIV. As we work toward implementing the goals of the Strategy and the Affordable Care Act, we expect that the issues raised in the report will aid in our implementation efforts.
To obtain a copy of today’s report or the first report released from the Committee, please visit the IOM website at www.IOM.edu.
Chantelle Britton is the Policy Advisor for the Office of National AIDS Policy