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HHS Using mHealth, Online Training to Fight HIV/AIDS

July 24, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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At a recent conference on AIDS, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new government initiatives aimed at fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including one that involves the use of mobile health (mHealth). The mHealth initiative has HHS in partnership with the MAC AIDS Fund, launching a mobile texting pilot program called UCARE4LIFE to help patients get important reminders and tips for managing their disease.

The texting project will last two-years and focus on southern states, where the epidemic is rising fast among youth. It will consist of developing a message library for delivering timely phone text reminders in English and Spanish to HIV-positive individuals for medical appointments and for taking medications as prescribed. 

In addition to the mHealth texting initiative, HHS announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working with Medscape, a provider of online continuing education for U.S. clinicians, to create new training programs to help healthcare providers better understand and address the needs of patients with HIV.

Three new training modules have been created for physicians, nurses and other medical professionals to review the basics of evaluation, monitoring, and treatment initiation in HIV-infected patients. They will also serve to explain the benefits of starting HIV treatment earlier; recognize and evaluate potential barriers to access to HIV care; and understand how to bridge the financial barriers to care, particularly under the Affordable Care Act

Along with those initiatives, HHS announced a partnership with Walgreens to develop an innovative medication therapy management and the creation of a common, easy to use form for HIV patient assistance program applicants.

“We are reminded over and over again that we need a collective response to turn the tide against HIV/AIDS,” Secretary Sebelius said at the conference. “That’s why we’re making a new effort to reach out to community-based organizations, businesses, foundations, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations and other partners to ask how we can work together. These public-private partnerships will help make a difference in people’s lives.”

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