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The Institute for Population Health  is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant supported by FOCUS, a program of Gilead Sciences, Inc. to expand HIV and HCV screening among the patient population throughout Detroit.  “FOCUS” stands for at the “Frontlines of Communities in the U.S.”  Through this significant award, HIV and HCV testing will be made available to all patients ages 13 and older who come to any IPH site or any of IPH’s substance use disorder partner sites, regardless of the purpose of their visit.  This includes IPH’s Northwest and Northend Health Centers, located at 19830 James Couzens Fwy and 9053 Woodward Avenue and several substance use disorder treatment centers throughout Wayne County.  Detroit is a new community for the FOCUS program and IPH is among the very first grantees in Michigan.

Nearly one-in-five, HIV-positive Americans – approximately 208,000 people – do not know that they are infected.  It is estimated that these individuals are responsible for up to two-thirds of sexually transmitted HIV infections, because they do not know that they are putting others at risk.  The rates of HIV and HCV infection – particularly undiagnosed acute infections – are significantly high in the Detroit area.   Thirteen of Michigan’s 83 counties have high HIV rates.  Markedly is higher than any county, however, is the city of Detroit, with more than 778 cases per 100,000 people. Likewise, the prevalence of Hepatitis C infection is very high in Detroit, with over 172 case per 100,000; and over 1,200 chronic cases, as of 2012.

“Detroit is long overdue for a program like FOCUS and IPH is proud to be one of the earliest to partner with Gilead to expand access to HIV and Hepatitis C screening throughout our community,” said Loretta V. Davis, MSA, President and CEO of IPH.  “IPH is focused on meeting all of the health and wellness needs of the communities we serve and remaining on the frontline of prevention and treatment for the chronic illnesses that impact so many people.”

The FOCUS program was launched in 2010 to develop replicable model programs that embody best practices in HIV screening and linkage to care. With a targeted approach now involving 14 cities – Detroit being the newest – that are heavily affected by the disease, FOCUS works in partnership with government agencies, healthcare providers, community groups and other organizations to develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions that will have a long-term impact on how the HIV and HCV screening is perceived and used by providers and the public. Specifically, FOCUS aims to:

  • Make routine HIV and HCV screening a standard of medical care by developing, integrating and promoting best practices that are sustainable and replicable
  • Reduce the number of undiagnosed individuals, decrease the number of those who are diagnosed late, and ensure strong linkage to care and treatment
  • Expand dialogue among healthcare systems and other stakeholders on increasing HIV and HCV diagnoses and access to care
  • Change public perceptions about the benefits of knowing one’s status and overcome HIV and HCV-related stigma that may prevent individuals from seeking testing and providers from offering it routinely

Individuals and families in Metro Detroit are welcome to walk-in for HIV, HCV and/or STD screening at either of IPH’s clinic locations or to contact IPH at 313-309-9350 or via www.ipophealth.org to schedule an appointment for a wellness check, health screening or for help with any of their other health and wellness needs.

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