The Georgia Department of Public Health recently announced the launch of the Georgia CAPUS Care Portal, a clearinghouse for all information related to HIV/AIDS in the State of Georgia. The portal is administered by the HIV Prevention program of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and is the result of two years of planning and creation.
CAPUS, which stands for Care and Prevention in the United States, is a cross-agency project led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that aims to create more efficient and more effective systems to improve HIV testing, linkage to and retention in care, specifically targeting highest risk minority populations. Georgia was one of only eight states in the U.S. to be awarded a portion of a $44.2 million dollar grant from the CDC. Georgia DPH received $7.5 million to be used in part for the design and implementation of the CAPUS Care Portal.
There are more than 50,000 people living in Georgia who are HIV positive, 45 percent of those people are not in care. One out of five HIV positive people in Georgia don’t know they are HIV positive. Finding sustainable HIV treatment and care is the single, most important connection HIV positive individuals can make. But for many, navigating through different systems can become so frustrating, that a connection to care is never made.
“HIV information currently available online can be confusing or conflicting. The CAPUS Care Portal cuts through the haze, bringing HIV positive individuals and providers closer to the truth – treatment is prevention,” said Patrick O’Neal, M.D., director of health protection for the Georgia Department of Public Health. “We know that an HIV positive individual receiving, and adhering to, an appropriate treatment regimen is 96 percent less likely to pass HIV to someone else.”
By answering five simple questions in the easy-to-use Eligibility Portal, users will learn immediately whether they may be eligible for Ryan White services. The Ryan White Program is federally funded and works with cities, states, and local community-based organizations to provide HIV-related services to people who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources for coping with HIV disease.
Continuing toward care is even simpler. Users indicated as eligible for Ryan White services in the portal can request that a provider in the nearest Ryan White clinic contact them directly and discreetly to arrange for a clinic appointment. At the clinic, a Ryan White caseworker will help determine individual care, often at no cost.
The Mapping and Testing Tool provides important data everyone can use to connect more Georgians with quality HIV treatment and care. The public component features a testing map, which lists testing event dates and locations across the State of Georgia, along with a graphic display of HIV/AIDS incidence in our state. Community Based Organizations (CBO) and health care providers can use the HIV Continuum Visualizer – a specialized map for health care professionals to make better decisions on testing, outreach, and linkage-to-care by using current surveillance, or incidence data.
Normal web searches can’t match the portal’s Resource Directory – an online tool to help locate local services for people living with HIV and AIDS. By selecting an area of our state, users are connected with essential services in the most important categories: HIV testing, medication assistance, oral health, food assistance, case management, treatment, housing assistance, mental health, substance abuse, primary care, family planning, shelters, funeral services, legal services, spiritual resources, LGBTQ friendliness, and transportation.
The Medical Information Pates cut through confusing or conflicting information and provide relevant, fact-based information for people living with HIV or AIDS, for service providers, and for anyone wanting to know more.
You can see and explore the features of the CAPUS Care Portal at gaCapus.com.