Each year, more than 50,000 people are diagnosed with HIV and even more are living with HIV and don’t realize it. To improve the care and outcome of those with HIV, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Division of Infectious Diseases and its Petersen Clinics partner with the Tucson community to conduct research, provide training, education and excellence in patient care in the treatment of HIV.
Banner – University Medical Center Tucson was ranked third in the nation by the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) in its Critical Care Outcomes Report, when the hospital was known as the University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus, for the year 2014.
“It really does take a village to care for HIV patients effectively,” said Stephen A. Klotz, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. “In addition to our local hospital and clinical care of HIV patients, we are also the Arizona AIDS Education and Training Center (also funded by HRSA), which is a statewide program for HIV care.”
As part of that statewide effort, the infectious disease team provides medical training, outreach education and high-quality patient care. It also has created internal protocols for physicians, administrative staff and others at University Campus and South Campus on risk screening, while creating awareness of the comprehensive network of services that include new technology-based HIV testing, case management focused on housing, insurance and follow-up care.
Each month, 30 new HIV patients enter the Petersen Clinics and more than 1,000 people currently receive outpatient care. That care includes dedicated clinics for HIV telemedicine for the Arizona Department of Corrections to nine different prisons, as well as the Pima County Jail. The Petersen Clinics are funded in part by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and are within the Banner – University Medical Center Tucson hospitals.
Thanks to the community alliance among the UA Infectious Disease Division, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, COPE Community Services, Inc., and the Pima County Health Department, people at risk or who are HIV positive have access to excellent HIV care.
UA Infectious Disease HIV Research Highlights:
- Using the technology of biosensors, a new study investigates frailty in HIV patients. Frailty is measured by five factors: calories burned/week; speed of walking; hand grip; weight loss and depression. This study is aimed at improving strength, stature and balance among HIV patients, of whom 20 percent are found to be frail.
- Uninfected partners of HIV patients are eligible for the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis study, known as the PrEP study. PrEP is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) s used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. These medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection in those exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by as much as 92 percent. The study is open to those at high risk for HIV, including people who have a partner with HIV, those who are sexually active with high-risk groups or active or inactive intravenous drug users.
- The group also is conducting research to assess the age and the duration of HIV upon the immune cells of treated patients.
- The Petersen Clinics are treating co-infected patients with HIV and hepatitis C and tracking their outcomes.
“Through our community partnerships, clinics, clinicians, support staff and research we are able to share vital information on therapy and research options and teach social and community health workers to identify people who are at risk. We all work together to provide information and access to medical care that is seamless, supportive and non-judgmental,” said Shannon Smith, manager of clinical programs for the Division of Infectious Diseases.
About Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and South
Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South are part of Banner – University Medicine, a premier academic medical network. These institutions are academic medical centers for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Included on the two campuses are Banner Children’s Diamond Children's Medical Center and many clinics. The two academic medical centers are part of Arizona-based Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com/UniversityTucson or http://www.bannerhealth.com/UniversitySouth
About The Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC)
The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. AHSC is comprised of the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, AHSC reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater desert Southwest in providing cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, AHSC employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: http://ahsc.arizona.edu