Interviewer: The University of Utah is home to the only Ryan White-sponsored HIV clinic in Utah, treating up to 90% of Utahan HIV patients. We're joined today by two doctors from the clinic to speak on what that clinic offers.
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Interviewer: We're sitting down with Dr. Claudia Goulston. She is an Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Rosado, who is the Medical Program Director for the Ryan White Program. When it comes to HIV and AIDS treatment and diagnosis, and things like that, where does the Ryan White Program fit within the Salt Lake community?
Dr. Rosado: So the Ryan White Program, basically, the purpose of this program is to treat people who are HIV infected and are unable to pay for HIV therapy, because the HIV therapy is very expensive even in this country. We also have funding to do HIV testing mainly for partners of our patient, spouses, and anybody who wants to have an HIV test, we can do that using Ryan White funding.
Interviewer: So, Dr. Rosado, how many people do you see here in Salt Lake?
Dr. Rosado: In the clinic, we had about 1,600, 1,700. It depends. Patients that come to our clinic, not all of them are Ryan White patients because we see people who are Medicare, Medicaid, or they have primary insurance. That's the total of the 1,600 patients. But people who quality for Ryan White is about 500 patients that receive Ryan White funding.
Interviewer: And Dr. Goulston, why is a program like this important for a population like this?
Dr. Goulston: Well, many people are uninsured or underinsured, as the case may be, and so it kind of dovetails with that. And we have all sorts of providers within the clinic that work as a medical home to help get patients care. So we have case managers that can help treat patients and get them into care. We have counselors, psychiatrists, OB-GYN, neurology in our clinic as well and we work with all these different subspecialties to try and give them the best care possible.
Interviewer: So that sounds like a pretty comprehensive care. So that's at Clinic 1A? Is that important for the treatment? It's not just medication, it's everything else?
Dr. Rosado: Well, again, we offer a comprehensive HIV care to our patients and we try, as Dr. Goulston mentioned, to have a medical home model so the patient can come to that clinic and they can see the HIV provider. If they need to see psychiatric care, mental health, neurology, or OB-GYN, we have all those services in the clinic.
Interviewer: I mean, programs like Ryan White where you can get these new treatments and things, it . . . I mean, treatment is not like it was 20, 30 years ago, right?
Dr. Goulston: Not at all.
Interviewer: How has it changed?
Dr. Goulston: Well, now, we have many regimens that are single-drug or single-tablet regimens once a day. We have much lower side effects and very effective, and it is much more tolerable for patients to take and to remember. We used to have treatments that could be up to five times a day with miserable side effects, and those days are gone.
Interviewer: So it's not a death sentence anymore either, right?
Dr. Goulston: If you take your meds and can afford them and can carry through, then people can live.
Interviewer: So Clinic 1A . . . So it's treatment. Do they offer services for prevention?
Dr. Rosado: We do. In Clinic 1A, we do offer clinic services for prevention. But we need to emphasize here that the Ryan White Program doesn't pay for TRUVADA for prevention or HIV PrEP, because the funding for Ryan White is for people who are HIV infected. But we do see patients that are taking PrEP, TRUVADA, to prevent HIV. Usually, these people have their own insurance. And the company that makes TRUVADA, Gilead, they do have a patient assistant program. If a patient is unable to pay for the medication, they can offer the medication for free as long as the patient qualifies.
Interviewer: So say a listener who might be HIV-positive, underinsured, or not even have insurance, where they can go get more information for the Ryan White Program?
Dr. Rosado: Now, these people can go online and Google "Ryan White" and they will get all the information they need. In Utah, they can call the University Hospital Clinic 1A and we can offer them more information about Ryan White. We see anybody who wants to come to the clinic, and I need to mention, including people who are undocumented. As long as they are a Utah resident, they qualify for the Ryan White. And the reason I say this is Ryan White is present in every single state. The only qualification will be that you have HIV and you reside in that specific state, and you are unable to pay for your medication. The Ryan White, definitely, will cover your HIV therapy.
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