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SmartHealth at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas launches Rapid Start Treatment Program to improve the care of patients’ who are living with HIV.

SmartHealth at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas launches Rapid Start Treatment Program to improve the care of patients’ who are living with HIV.

Beaumont, Texas - SmartHealth provides Rapid Start treatment for individuals who are living with HIV. Previously, those who were diagnosed with HIV waited for as long as three months before they were prescribed medications. Rapid Start allows providers to prescribe medications immediately after an HIV diagnosis. Early initiation of therapy increases our patients’ engagement in care, and decreases their viral load.

The PATH 2.0 model estimated that HIV transmissions in 2016 occurred primarily from people with HIV who did not know their HIV status, or were diagnosed but are out of care. Together, these two groups accounted for approximately 80% of new infections. Those who were in care but had not achieved viral suppression accounted for approximately 20% of transmissions. To end the HIV epidemic in the United States, the HHS initiative directs a path forward for success (6). First, early detection of HIV infection must be improved (11). Second, once HIV infection is identified, rapid entry into care and prevention services is crucial to ensure achievement of viral suppression as quickly as possible (Li, Purcell, Sansom, Hayes, & Hall, 2019).