MCD, Maine CDC Work Together to Support HIV/AIDS Programs
Maine CDC staff members.
Around the world, significant progress has been made on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, but there is still work to do to end the HIV pandemic. In Maine, MCD works with the Maine CDC to provide staffing and support to the state’s Ryan White Part B/ADAP program.The program’s goal is to provide support for people who are lower income and living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the state of Maine, such as working to ensure equitable access to HIV services.
“While our services include financial support for rent, heating, electricity, food, and dental care, our main goal is to ensure that PLWHA have easy access to the medicines they need, free of cost. This is important because when most PLWHA take their medicine in the correct way, their viral load becomes very low or completely undetectable,” said Margaret Reynolds of Maine CDC. “After a certain amount of time, the amount of the virus in their blood is so limited that they can no longer sexually transmit HIV to others. It also means that our fellow Mainers can lead longer, healthier lives.”
According to Reynolds, there are around 1,200 people currently enrolled in Maine’s program, and 91% of those have reached viral suppression. Assuming they are able to maintain these low levels of HIV virus in their blood, more than 1,000 of these clients can no longer sexually transmit HIV to others.
“That’s a higher rate than most other states in our nation,” Reynolds shared.
MCD helps Maine CDC Infectious Disease Care Team by staffing the program and serving as the fiscal intermediary. Of the six-person staff, three positions are staffed by MCD. While the entire team spends their worktime on site at the Maine CDC, MCD is integral in conducting the hiring process and providing ongoing staff support.
“As mentioned, MCD also serves as our 'fiscal intermediary.’ By cutting our checks, MCD allows the payments we make on behalf of our clients to remain completely anonymous. This is invaluable to the people we serve as often they want to keep their HIV status private,” Reynolds said.
December 1 marks World AIDS Day and the beginning of AIDS Awareness Month. With a goal of ending inequalities, ending AIDS, and ending pandemics, Maine’s team recognizes the continued need for improvement.
“I'm able to affect systematic changes that improve HIV assistance infrastructure, making it easier for patients to access the care they need and improve their quality of life,” shared Katie Weitman, ADAP coordinator for Maine CDC/MCD.
About Staffing the Public Health Workforce: MCD has a long history of providing embedded staffing support to Maine’s public health programs and initiatives and holding multiple workforce development contracts with various state public and private public health organizations. MCD routinely engages in contract and program management, project staffing and implementation, committee coordination, and communication and collaboration with department leadership to ensure deliverables are met and that staff contribute to program operations and performance measures.