Thanks to the recent merger between the Saint Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA) and the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), EFA is moving from its current facility in the Grove to a newly renovated and much larger building in Midtown at 2653 Locust Ave. on Jan. 7.
“Until then, we will continue to serve clients where we are,” says Tawnya Brown, vice president of operations for EFA.
The move comes as part of an effort to transform EFA’s existing services into the HIV medical home model, which will significantly expand the range of services offered for HIV prevention and treatment, reduce barriers, and enhance access to integrated, comprehensive care for people living with or at-risk for HIV.
“Clients will have access to an onsite medical clinic and pharmacy in addition to our existing case management, insurance navigation, HIV testing and prevention services,” Brown says. “Later in 2019 and through 2020, EFA’s integrated model of care will offer even more services that currently have limited capacity to serve HIV-positive persons in our region: dental care, legal services and behavioral health care, including psychiatry. EFA expects a 30 to 50 percent increase in its total employees by the end of 2020.”
In the new space, EFA’s existing range of services will continue to be delivered by the same skilled, dedicated professionals that provide HIV care and prevention services in the current location. Free parking, a caring and welcoming atmosphere, and commitment to high-quality service delivery will be the same, or even more so, in the new space.
“The HIV medical home EFA will implement is based on the model created by ARCW, which is nationally recognized for its commitment to high-quality, patient-centered care with demonstrated improvements in health outcomes for people living with HIV,” Brown explains. “That EFA will offer HIV testing, linkage to care case management, medical care, and access to pharmacy in one location is expected to reduce the number of days between a person’s HIV diagnosis and their engagement in care, which will improve the region’s efforts to achieve national HIV/AIDS strategy goals and increase regional rates of HIV viral load suppression.
“EFA also looks forward to expanding our region’s ability to respond to the STI epidemic and reduce new HIV infections. The onsite access to STI treatment and to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) care offered in the medical clinic at EFA’s new location are significant enhancements to the region’s current public health efforts.”
In particular, newly diagnosed people living with HIV, as well as those who struggle with adherence and retention in care, are likely to find the enhanced access available under this model reduces barriers and increases their engagement in care.
“HIV-negative persons who have experienced challenges getting STI treatment and accessing PrEP are also likely to experience reduced barriers to the care they need,” Brown says. “This new model of care is truly innovative and includes partnerships with renowned providers of HIV care including Dr. Bill Summers and Washington University. EFA remains committed to the partnerships and collaborations that have been a hallmark of our long history of HIV-related service to the St. Louis community.
“While we believe strongly in the improved health outcomes and reduced barriers associated with our new HIV medical home model of care, we also strongly support client choice. As always, clients may choose to access any variety of EFA’s services that best suits their needs.”