Rural Health Services, Inc. Awarded HRSA Grant for HIV Service Expansion
AIKEN, S.C. (September 17, 2021) – On September 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded over $48 million to health centers across the states to expand HIV prevention and treatment. Rural Health Services, Inc. (RHS) was the only health center in SC to be awarded over $347,000 of funding from the grant, allowing for huge advancements in treatment and prevention. Funding by this grant will increase the number of patients counseled and tested for HIV, access to PrEP, and linkage to HIV care and treatment through RHS.
RHS proposed project will use the funds to hire an HIV Program Coordinator, PrEP Navigator Case Manager, and HIV Health Educator to deliver HIV prevention services that are integrated with primary care. Funds will also cover HIV test kits, PrEP medication assistance, RHS participation in community health events and Augusta PRIDE, staff training and professional development.
“Rural Health Services is happy to do its part in ending the HIV epidemic,” said CEO Carolyn McClain.
HRSA’s investment is part of the ‘Ending the HIV Epidemic in the US’ initiative, which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 90 percent by 2030. Like RHS, other health centers will use the funding to conduct outreach and HIV testing, expand their workforce to increase access to and use of PrEP, and connect individuals who test positive for HIV to treatment. Last year, HRSA-funded health centers provided nearly 2.5 million HIV tests to patients. Of those who tested positive for HIV for the first time, over 81 percent were successfully linked to treatment within 30 days.
About PrEP Medication
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is medicine taken to prevent getting HIV. PrEP is used by people without HIV who are at risk of being exposed to HIV through sexual contact or injection drug use. PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV when taken as prescribed. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% and reduces the risk by 74% for injectable drugs (CDC.gov).
About Rural Health Services, Inc.
For more than 45 years, Rural Health Services (RHS) has provided a wide array of primary and preventive healthcare services to the population of Aiken County and surrounding areas.
RHS is a private, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). RHS offers culturally competent, comprehensive primary, preventive, and supplemental healthcare services to all people, regardless of their financial situation. For more information on Rural Health Services, please visit www.ruralhs.org.