EHE Efforts in Missouri Emphasize Prevention and Education in Rural Communities
In Missouri, state public health and community leaders focus on prevention and education as part of their Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative strategies. State EHE staff are working with partners to increase testing, expand linkage, access and retention in prevention and treatment services; and launched an anti-stigma campaign to educate providers and medical staff.
These are among the highlights of a recent briefing on state EHE efforts that Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) staff provided CAPT John Oguntomilade, BDS, MPH, PhD, EHE Initiative Coordination Lead for the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, during a recent visit to St. Louis. They also participated in a community engagement session and visited several organizations engaged in EHE efforts:
- DOORWAYSExit Disclaimer provides housing/healthcare options for people with HIV and their families and serves more than 3,000 people per year from various counties in Missouri.
- NOVUS HealthExit Disclaimer offers case management, linkage to care, behavioral health services, psychiatric care, health screenings, STI clinical care, and pharmacy services.
- Williams & Associates Inc.Exit Disclaimer provides health education workshops, HIV/STI prevention services, substance use services, and mental health services.
- Washington University Infectious Diseases ClinicExit Disclaimer is the largest provider of HIV primary care services in the St. Louis region and a Ryan White Part C grantee.
- Supporting Positive Opportunities with Teens (SPOT)Exit Disclaimer and Project ARKExit Disclaimer provide HIV prevention and support services, including HIV/STI testing and treatment, PrEP and PEP services, case management, and mental health support.
- Vivent HealthExit Disclaimer is an HIV medical home that offers behavioral and mental health care, pharmacy services, a food pantry, medical care, HIV testing, case management, legal services, dental care, PrEP, and STI testing.
CAPT Oguntomilade commended the state’s EHE leadership efforts and the strategic partnerships to expand access to HIV services in rural communities, although most HIV cases are in St Louis and Kansas City. He also applauded the public–private partnership initiative that led to the development of a major housing project to address housing insecurity and provide a medical home for people with HIV.
Upon concluding the visit, Alicia Jenkins, MSA, MDHSS Assistant Deputy Director, Division of Community and Public Health, said: “Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to showcase some of the work in Missouri. We appreciate the partnership and collaboration with our federal partners.”
Other MDHSS team members participating in the visit included Steve Cramer, Deputy Director, Division of Community and Public Health; Dustin Hampton, M.Ed., Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis; Janice Jamison, Assistant Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis; Wendy Lovelace, Director of Prevention and Field Services; Kris Daniel, DIS Program Coordinator; and Rebecca Bax, EHE Grants Coordinator.
About the EHE Initiative
The EHE initiative, a leading component of the work by HHS to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, aims to reduce new HIV infections in the United States by 90% by 2030. The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health coordinates EHE across HHS agencies and offices. Focusing additional resources in the 57 jurisdictions where they are needed most—including Missouri—the EHE initiative has scaled up four science-based strategies focusing on ending the epidemic: diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond.
HIV.gov would like to recognize MDHSS for their work supporting the “I am a Work of ART” viral suppression campaign. Watch for future blogs to learn more.