Testing, Linkage to Care and Treatment

Important goals of Project Inform’s programs and services are to make certain that HIV-positive people know their status as soon after infection as possible, to increase the percentage of HIV-positive people entering care and treatment, to reduce disparities in health outcomes of HIV-positive women and people of color, and to reduce new cases of HIV infection using innovative biomedical approaches. Upon taking office, President Obama committed to developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy to increase the percentage of HIV-positive people engaged in care and treatment, reduce health disparities and reduce new HIV infections.

In December 2009, Project Inform held a think tank meeting with leading HIV experts to determine whether an effort to increase HIV testing and assure that more HIV-positive people were receiving care and treatment would improve the health outcomes of HIV-positive people and prevent new cases of HIV infection. The group ended the meeting by recommending that the National HIV/AIDS Strategy contain an initiative called Testing & Linkage to Care Plus, or TLC+ to achieve these two goals. The group concluded that data support the idea that HIV-positive people who know their status and are effectively treated are less likely to transmit HIV to others.

Project Inform and its partners continue to advocate for implementation of TLC+ throughout the nation. This section of our website contains documents describing and supporting TLC+.



Can HIV testing plus linking HIV+ people to care and treatment reduce HIV transmission?


A brief description of TLC+


Questions and Answers about TLC+


PRESENTATION: Good Public Health Practice — TLC+, by David Munar, AIDS Foundation of Chicago


The Rationale for TLC+, and Project Inform’s Position on When to Start HIV Treatment


Letter to the President


TLC+ Think Tank FInal Report


TLC+ Think Tank Data Summary


Project Inform, in coordination with national partners, has developed a strategy called TLC+ (Testing and Linkage to Care PLUS). TLC+ aims to encourage local programs to integrate HIV testing, care and treatment with prevention efforts.

  • Expand regular HIV testing as a routine part of medical care and target testing to high-risk individual.

  • Link HIV+ people to care and social services by working intensively with newly diagnosed patients and those who already know their status.

  • Promote regular doctors visits after diagnosis with quick evaluation of the need for HIV therapy and advice about options for when to start.

  • Counsel HIV+ people about how to prevent passing HIV whether or not the person decides to start treatment.

  • Help patients understand the importance of taking their medicine consistently and help them to identify issues that need to be addressed to support adherence.

  • Assure linkage to supportive services,like housing, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and childcare, which are essential for many patients to enter and remain in care.  

Five additional issues are essential to address – with President Obama’s leadership – to ensure the success of TLC+.

  1. End stigma and discrimination, powerful barriers to the willingness of at-risk people to engage in testing and care.

  2. Strengthen medical provider education about sex, sexuality, race and other factors associated with HIV/AIDS to support increased rates of HIV testing and care.

  3. Increase education for people at high-risk for HIV so they better understand the benefits of knowing their status and engaging in care and treatment.

  4. Cover the cost of HIV testing by all public and private health insurers.

  5. Fully fund TLC+ through health care reform and by guaranteeing sources of federal and state funding to effectively end the HIV epidemic.


    THE FACTS...

  • Every year, for over a decade, 56,300 Americans become infected with HIV.

  • 21% of HIV+ Americans do not know their HIV status.

  • Up to 25% of HIV+ Americans are not in care that could save their lives, and help them to avoid transmitting HIV to others.

    AND …

  • People who know they are HIV+ are more likely to take steps to prevent HIV transmission.

  • HIV+ people on effective treatment and practicing safe sex are much less likely to transmit HIV.




Project Inform and CHAMP lead Think Tank to develop an integrated approach to HIV testing, linkage to care & treatment to further control US epidemic