November 8, 2012
An independent procurement panel convened by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation on behalf of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has awarded funding to ActionAIDS for the Prison Linkage Program. The funding comes from the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, which strives to remove racial and ethnic disparities in health by providing beneficial education services to persons with HIV/AIDS who are from racial and ethnic minority groups. The grant will be applied to a four-month program, with more funds to be granted for ongoing programming.
The ActionAIDS Prison Linkage Program will offer case management services to those with HIV/AIDS who are imprisoned or who have been released from the Philadelphia county prison system. The program works with the Philadelphia county jails to help people with HIV/AIDS access medical care, social services, and support. The program will focus on problems of timely referral and retention of clients after their release from prison, which is a crucial and challenging time. The Prison Linkage Program staff will concentrate on developing relationships with prison health providers, clients, the criminal justice system, and other community agencies. According to Action AIDS, formerly incarcerated clients face huge challenges and barriers to accessing care and staying in care. "By ensuring continuity of medical care, ActionAIDS reduces the development of drug-resistant HIV, decreases sexual risk behaviors, and, as patients in treatment maintain low or non-detectible viral loads, the risk of HIV transmission to others is reduced or eliminated," declares ActionAIDS.