For World AIDS Day 2018, observed on December 1, the National AIDS Trust encourages everyone to “Rock the Ribbon” and to continue support for the effort to eliminate AIDS all year long. Abt Associates does that with our multi-faceted contributions to HIV-reduction efforts. Since 1985, we have advanced knowledge about HIV detection and care in the U.S., improved HIV service delivery globally, and gotten involved in local efforts to raise awareness and funds to combat HIV and AIDS.
Most recently Abt won three contracts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources involving the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program (RWHAP). A $3.6 million, 4.5-year multi-phased evaluation study will focus on Ryan White clients. Abt will develop a sampling plan and instrumentation to conduct records abstraction at 50 Ryan White-funded clinics to generate national estimates of core HIV measures such as linkage to HIV care and antiretroviral prescription. The measures will reflect the HIV care continuum. On alternating years, Abt will collect data on comorbidities currently of greatest interest: sexually transmitted infections, opioid use disorder and hepatitis.
Abt was also awarded an $860,000 project to determine the best way to estimate unmet need for clinical care among people diagnosed with HIV. Such estimates are important for state and local jurisdictions to develop their resource allocation plans.
A third contract valued at $225,000 is for an evaluation of the Health Resources Services Administration’s implementation of the domestic RWHAP and the global President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The study will identify lessons learned, successful models, interventions and experiences that can improve HIV service delivery and health outcomes in the U.S. and abroad.
In addition, we were part of a team that recently completed a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of viral load suppression among HIV-positive offenders released from prison. The study with Brown University researchers and Miriam Hospital showed that released prisoners who linked to care and were retained continued to suppress HIV at roughly the same rate as HIV-positive individuals already receiving care in the community. The finding suggested it would be effective to devote resources to promoting such links and retention after release from prison.
Abt’s global contributions include work under the global AIDSFree project, which the United States Agency for International Development funds. Abt has been working with a broad range of partners to implement Public-Private Alliance models to sustain epidemic control. AIDSFree is working in 12 African countries to improve the quality and effectiveness of high-impact, evidence-based HIV interventions to meet country-specific objectives.
Containing the AIDS epidemic and helping people live positively with the disease requires national HIV responses that maximize all available public and private human resources. Abt recently produced a suite of resources, including videos, highlighting how to engage the private health sector along the continuum of care to meet global goals. Containing AIDS also requires research to guide innovations and programs to reach their maximum effectiveness. Abt is proud to help on all these fronts, day in and day out. With our global work, for us every day quite literally is World AIDS Day.