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HIV/AIDS Community Clinic Network

Description of Organization

The University of Illinois HIV/AIDS Community Clinic Network (HCCN) is based in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics, and is a component of the University of Illinois Medical Center located on Chicago’s near west side. Founded by Medical Director Dr. Richard Novak, the HCCN has been providing high quality medical care for patients with HIV and AIDS since 1989. The unique program utilizes a collaborative multidisciplinary team to provide services to approximately 1,200 patients at seven locations in Chicago, including on campus, at the Miles Square Health Center, and at five community clinic locations on the city’s North, Northwest, West, South and Southeast Sides through a collaboration with the University of Illinois School of Public Health’s Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP). The HCCN provides a range of health services including outpatient medical care, mental health services, treatment adherence, gynecological care, nutritional assessments, and referrals to a range of medical and social service programs through program collaboration and linkages. All HIV based services are provided regardless of an individual’s insurance status or income level.

University of Illinois HIV/AIDS Community Clinic Network

The network consists of 7 primary care clinic sites funded by the Ryan White Parts A, B, C & D to provide comprehensive medical care and mental health services to about 850 active patients, drawing primarily from 25 Community Areas.

UIC has been providing services to HIV-infected individuals for more than 22 years. The HCCN was founded by Dr. Richard Novak in 1992. With the philosophy to bring nonjudgmental HIV services into the communities where our clients reside, and to provide quality primary care for all clients. To that end, the HCCN staff strive to increase our cultural competence and has developed a strong knowledge base and a good community reputation in providing effective primary care to all targeted communities. Our nonjudgmental, complete care model, originally developed for IDUs, has been expanded to take on new target populations as the epidemic has changed, including Spanish-speaking individuals, sex workers, transgendered persons, MSMs of color, persons leaving the correctional system, and women with HIV. A critical part of our care model is determining how to ensure that clients retain access and remain in primary care by working with each client individually, taking into account their life situation in developing the primary care treatment strategy that has the best likelihood of success.

The HCCN provides primary care to HIV-infected clients through a multicenter network of primary care services, focusing on underserved communities. The HCCN uses a multidisciplinary approach to HIV disease management and a graded system of client management. Asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic clients can receive services at any HCCN site, including the HCCN community-based sites. As their health status requires, clients can be referred to a physician-directed clinic for medical management, subspecialty referrals and, when necessary, hospitalization at UIMC. Clients keep the same provider team as they move through different levels of care. In response to the changing nature of the epidemic, the HCCN has placed an increased emphasis on making new therapies available to as many clients as possible. The HCCN also provides enhanced pharmaceutical education, nutritional and gynecological services to its clients. We provide linkages to substance abuse treatment, case management, and other service providers. As part of our multidisciplinary care model, we have ongoing funding for mental health.We also ensure that our clients, who often live in areas of the city that are underserved by public transportation, can get to their appointments by providing transportation for primary and subspecialty care appointments. Our care providers work together in a multidisciplinary team to ensure client adherence to treatment regimens. Infectious disease-trained physicians and nurse clinicians provide medical management, with the help of nurses, licensed clinical social workers, clinical pharmacists, mental health providers, dentists, nutritionists, Patient Care Advocates/patient transporters, and support staff. Our project successfully integrates mental health services (available concurrently with primary care appointments) and substance abuse treatment (all clients are encouraged to seek treatment if appropriate, and we have linkages with treatment providers to ensure that clients seeking treatment can “strike while the iron is hot.”) Our EMA-wide network of linkages to other service providers enables us to provide a continuum of care to our clients, including access to home health/hospice, food, etc.

Clinical Research Activities at FCID:

The UICHP supports numerous collaborative clinical and translational research programs. These include: the Women and Infant’s Transmission Study (WITS), the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). It also houses a pediatric ACTU. Adult Clinical Trials: CPCRA site, numerous HIV and Herpevac HSV2 vaccine trials; HIV Outpatient Study (HOPS, CDC); WHIN project: program project focusing on HIV pathogenesis.