Stony Brook University School of Medicine, through the SUNY Research Foundation, has received a three-year $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help advance and expand comprehensive medical care for HIV-infected women, children, youth and HIV-exposed infants living in Suffolk County. The grant is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which helps people who lack sufficient healthcare coverage or financial resources to manage HIV.
The grant to Stony Brook is among those nationally in the highest tier of HRSA Ryan White HIV/AIDS funding, the largest award on Long Island and the third largest in New York State. HHS awarded a total of $68 million in grants to 114 university hospitals, health departments, and community-based organizations nationwide.
“By receiving this additional funding from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, more individuals living with HIV in our region who have a difficult time affording medical care will receive comprehensive HIV/AIDS care available at Stony Brook’s primary care HIV/AIDS clinics throughout Suffolk County and have access to emerging treatments that are improving the lives of patients with HIV,” said Sharon Nachman, MD, associate dean for research and professor of pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.
Dr. Nachman, a nationally recognized leader regarding the treatment of HIV/AIDS in children, explained that ongoing HIV/AIDS clinical trials at Stony Brook continue to advance the long-term care of patients. One example is the Food and Drug Administration’s approval late in 2011 of the use of raltegravir in children. Dr. Nachman, principal investigator of the international multicenter clinical trial on the safety and efficacy of raltegravir in HIV-infected children and adolescents, described the drug as an antiretroviral agent that slows the spread of HIV infection and one of the newer weapons in the fight against HIV/AIDS in children.
To help expand access to Stony Brook’s comprehensive HIV/AIDS services for underserved populations within the region, Stony Brook will provide both day and evening clinic hours and at numerous locations. These locations include Stony Brook University Hospital, satellite clinics in Setauket, Islip, and Riverhead, and at an affiliated HIV clinic in Southampton, which is jointly operated by Stony Brook University Hospital and Southampton Hospital. Comprehensive care provided at each clinic includes primary medical care services, as well as behavioral health, nutrition and dental care specialty services. Barriers to comprehensive care that often occur within the underserved population – such as lack of transportation, child care and food – will also be addressed by professionals involved in the program.
The HHS grant targets resources to communities that need the most help within the geographic areas of institutions that receive funds. The grant is designed to provide core medical and support services for woman, infants, children and youth in three main populations: those newly diagnosed or newly identified persons living with HIV/AIDS who are new to medical care, previously diagnosed patients who have never been in care and HIV/AIDS patients who are returning to care after more than a 12-month absence. The grant also helps Stony Brook and other recipients forge ahead in pursuing the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, announced by the White House in July 2010. The goals include reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV and reducing HIV-related health disparities.