There are more than 50,000 people living in Georgia who are HIV positive. Of those people, 45 percent are not in care. Even more concerning is one out of five HIV positive people in Georgia don’t know they are HIV positive. Finding sustainable HIV treatment and care is the single, most important connection HIV positive individuals can make.
In an effort to reduce those critical numbers, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has launched the Georgia CAPUS Care Portal. The CAPUS Care Portal is a clearinghouse for all information related to HIV/AIDS in the State of Georgia. The portal is administered by DPH’s HIV Prevention program and is the result of two years of planning and creation.
CAPUS, which stands for Care and Prevention in the United States, is a three year, cross-agency demonstration project led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that aims to create more efficient and more effective systems to improve HIV testing, linkage to and retention in care, specifically targeting highest risk minority populations.
Georgia is one of only eight states in the U.S. to be awarded a portion of a $44.2 million dollar grant from the CDC. Georgia DPH received $7.5 million that was used in part for the CAPUS Care Portal.
“HIV information currently available online can be confusing or conflicting. The CAPUS Care Portal cuts through the haze, bringing HIV positive individuals and providers closer to the truth – treatment is prevention,” said J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D., director of health protection at DPH. “We know that an HIV positive individual receiving, and adhering to, an appropriate treatment regimen is 96 percent less likely to pass HIV to someone else.”
In interviews last week, Dr. O’Neal explained to reporters from across the state that an HIV positive person receiving proper care and treatment can live a healthy, normal life.
By answering five simple questions in the Eligibility Portal, users will learn immediately whether they may be eligible for Ryan White services. The Ryan White Program is federally funded and works with cities, states, and local community-based organizations to provide HIV-related services to people who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources for coping with HIV disease.
The Mapping and Testing Tool provides important data anyone can use to connect more Georgians with quality HIV treatment and care. The public component features a testing map, which lists testing event dates and locations across the state of Georgia, along with a graphic display of HIV/AIDS incidence in our state.
Normal web searches can’t match the portal’s Resource Directory – an online tool to help identify local services for people living with HIV and AIDS. First and foremost for some individuals, that may mean basic things such as food and a place to live.
By selecting an area of the state, users are connected with essential services in the most important categories: HIV testing, medication assistance, oral health, food assistance, case management, treatment, housing assistance, mental health, substance abuse, primary care, family planning, shelters, funeral services, legal services, spiritual resources, LGBTQ friendliness, and transportation.
Understanding the facts about the transmission of HIV can help stop its spread. The CAPUS Medical Information pages provide relevant, fact-based information for people living with HIV or AIDS, for service providers, or anyone wanting to know more.
The CAPUS Care Portal is the first step in connecting HIV positive Georgians to care and treatment, and eliminating the stigma associated with HIV, therefore no longer making those in need suffer in silence.
Learn more about the Georgia CAPUS Care Portal at gacapus.com or call GA AIDS/STD InfoLine at 1-800-551-2728.