Aids Weekly Plus
In conjunction with National HIV/AIDS Testing Day on June 27, the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and North Carolina’s Division of Public Health Communicable Disease Branch will launch ONE CALL, a call center to link newly diagnosed HIV patients with care providers. Specially trained nurses will staff the toll-free HIV call center, which also will connect non-specialist healthcare providers to North Carolina HIV care and support centers.
Dr. Cindy Gay, assistant professor of medicine at UNC and head of ONE CALL, stated that the healthcare professional who delivers a positive HIV test result often lacks the training required to counsel newly diagnosed HIV patients or to provide treatment. ONE CALL services aim to address patients’ initial concerns and to supply tailored referrals to HIV care, selected from the only comprehensive, up-to-date directory of North Carolina HIV specialists. ONE CALL nurses can transfer callers directly to the clinic of choice for appointments. The service also serves as a resource for newly diagnosed HIV patients who fear HIV/AIDS stigma and prefer an alternative to face-to-face encounters as they adjust to living with the virus.
At present, the South has the highest HIV incidence of US regions; North Carolina reported 1,563 new HIV cases in 2011. Approximately 24 percent of HIV-infected North Carolinians are not receiving treatment, which can prevent HIV transmission and help infected people achieve a normal life expectancy.
Individuals and providers may reach ONE CALL at 1–866–883–1836, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.