Minnesota DHS announces HIV/AIDS needs assessment survey and medication grants

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has announced a needs assessment survey for those living with HIV/AIDS. The survey will close on October 31, 2020. Photo: Shutterstock

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department through the Ryan White Program has grants available helps offset and eliminate the cost of HIV/AIDS medication. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as well as the HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB). The program provides a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, essential support services, and medications for low-income people living with HIV who are uninsured and under served.

In the state of Minnesota there are about 10,000 individuals infected with HIV/AIDS. For the past five years the state has reported about three hundred new yearly cases of infections. Males accounted for 72 percent of the data and communities of color account for over half of new infections.

The Program funds grants to states, cities, counties, and local community-based organizations to provide care and treatment services to people living with HIV to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among hard-to-reach populations. More than fifty percent of individuals diagnosed with HIV in the United States receive services through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program each year. Without these subsidies HIV/AIDS medication can have an exorbitant price of up to 4000 dollars a month.

In the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Hennepin County have worked to ensure that cost is not a prohibitive factor in receiving care and treatment. Help is available to anyone living with HIV/AIDS in the state of Minnesota and is living within 400 percent of the state’s poverty level. The resources offered through the Ryan White program are available for all individuals with HIV/AIDS regardless of immigration status.

In 2016 the Minnesota Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention (MCHACP) was formed to further continue the fight against the disease. The organization focuses on the care, treatment, and prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS in affected populations. The goal of MCHACP is to merge preventative initiatives with care and viral suppression which will lead to the eradication of HIV/AIDS by halting the spread of the virus. The organization is a collaborative effort between the DHS, Hennepin County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health. The MCHACP has the responsibility of allocating funds from the Ryan White Program for HIV/AIDS treatments and care services.

Every four years, DHS, Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department and MCHACP provides a needs assessment survey administered to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the survey is to assess the needs of the patients to best understand the type of resources and quantity that is needed to best help HIV/AIDS patients.

The survey is entirely confidential and there is no identifying information gathered. The survey is completed at no cost to the participants and a twenty five dollar gift card will be awarded upon completion of the survey. With the number of HIV/AIDS cases disproportionately affecting communities of color it is paramount that persons from underrepresented backgrounds participate in the survey. Individuals must be eighteen years or older to participate.

For more information on the needs assessment survey and to participate, visit www.hennepin.us/NA2020.

About Cynthia Simba, Mshale Reporter

Cynthia is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. She has interned at Mshale and Voice of America and previously worked at the Minnesota Daily. She recently returned from Seoul, South Korea where she was an English educator.

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