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Price Announces that Duke, UNC Rural Clinics Receive Federal Funding to Expand Services for North Carolinians With HIV

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

CHAPEL HILL/DURHAM, N.C. - Almost $3 million in funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will allow rural clinics run by Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to provide more services for more patients with HIV.

The funding comes from the Ryan White CARE Act, which funds more than 180 similar programs across the country.

In North Carolina, the UNC-Chapel Hill AIDS Treatment and Research Unit (UNC) received an award of $1.8 million to create a network of three medical centers and create two new clinics to serve rural areas, while the Duke AIDS Research and Treatment Center received more than $1 million to expand the services offered at its existing outpatient clinic in Henderson, N.C. Both grants run for three years.

"For almost 20 years, since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, physicians and scientists at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been on the cutting edge of AIDS patient care, research and health worker training," said U.S. Rep David Price, a strong advocate of increased funding for Ryan White CARE programs. "This new funding recognizes their ability to provide care and will help them continue their fight against this terrible illness that affects so many."

Clinicians and researchers at Duke and UNC have a long history in working together to improve the care for North Carolinians with HIV infection and to investigate new therapies for the disease. Dr. Charles van der Horst, professor of medicine at UNC and Dr. John Bartlett, director of Clinical Research at Duke's Center for AIDS Research, head up the respective programs.

"Duke and UNC have spent 12 years building up two of the best HIV research centers in the country," said van der Horst. "Both John Bartlett and I share the goal of extending the benefits of that research to all of the people of North Carolina by linking together existing sites and creating new sites where people can get care.

"These programs help us reach out and offer earlier diagnosis and care, and that reduces the transmission of HIV because our new drugs reduce the amount of virus in a person's blood," van der Horst continued. "We need to take the medicine to the people because everyone can't come here and we will each be able to do more of that through these grants."

Thanks to the grant, Duke will be able to keep the clinic in Henderson open four days a week instead of one and also expand services. The clinic, which opened in 1997 at Maria Parham Hospital, treats more than 75 patients with HIV disease.

"With this new funding, the clinic will be able to offer all the services our patients need in one location," Bartlett said. "In addition to the specialty care, other services on site include primary care services, pastoral care, case management, mental health, dental care and social work. This location is very much appreciated by our patients - we have a very low appointment cancellation rate and a very high compliance rate."

The Duke clinic is a partnership with the Piedmont HIV Health Care Consortium, Durham, a non-profit organization. Called the Northern Outreach Clinic, the clinic serves people in five counties: Vance, Granville, Franklin, Person and Warren. Duke also supports an outpatient clinic in Fayetteville, N.C., which is supported by another grant.

UNC will join with Moses Cone Hospital, Greensboro, and the Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, to create the Central Carolina Care Network to expand care for people with HIV disease in a 14-county area in central North Carolina. The grant will let the three medical centers add new physicians and nursing staff to respond to increasing case loads at each center. It will also support the centers in creating new outpatient clinics in Asheboro and High Point.

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