HIV/AIDS THERAPY: Agency Offers Incentives for Better Compliance
Action Point, the first San Francisco AIDS organization focusing primarily on promoting adherence to HIV treatment regimens -- some which require as many as 40 pills per day -- opened its new offices July 6, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Agency organizers say that the main goal is to help clients, many of whom are homeless, stick to their regimens so they stay healthy and out of the hospital. It has been estimated that nearly 9% of San Francisco's homeless are HIV-positive, while a recent study at UC-San Francisco found that of 150 homeless people with HIV, only one-third were prescribed the recommended medicines. According to Dr. Andrew Moss, who conducted the study, many physicians won't prescribe the complicated regimens if they feel their patients won't comply. This is where Action Point hopes to make a difference. In order to enhance patient compliance, the agency pays clients $10 per week for taking their medications and also issues beepers which alert the clients when it is time to take their pills. In addition to compliance incentives, Action Point offers acupuncture sessions and staff consulting by two nurses, three social workers, and a part-time acupuncturist and pharmacist. The program, so far, appears to be successful. According to Joshua Bamberger, the organization's part-time medical director, "Money works." He added that clients seem to enjoy the acupuncture sessions, noting that "homeless people don't get enough contact like that. People don't want to touch them. I think that the tactile stimulation is healing." Action Point also runs a needle exchange program three days a week. The city-funded agency runs on a annual budget of $423,000 and expects to serve about 150 HIV-positive clients (Torassa, 8/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.