BOSTON, Mass.—The Boards of Directors at Fenway Health and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC) have voted to enter into a strategic partnership designed to better provide care and services for New England’s growing population of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The partnership will allow for more efficient delivery of a broader array of services for patients and clients, and enhance both organizations’ disease prevention and public health policy advocacy work. It will also leverage the expertise in peer support, behavioral intervention, outreach, prevention, and education long utilized by AIDS Action with the policy, research, evaluation, training resources and clinical care of Fenway Health to test and measure what works best in terms of behavioral and clinical interventions for reducing the transmission of HIV and improving health outcomes.
“I applaud the members of Fenway and AIDS Action’s Boards of Directors for being proactive and forward-thinking. Partnerships like this represent the future of HIV/AIDS service and care delivery and the evolving relationship between Fenway Health and AAC will likely serve as a model for other organizations in New England and across the country. Our partnership is also an early example of what the health care system is going to look like under the Affordable Care Act, which will require the streamlined delivery of health care services in tight coordination with wellness and prevention programs,” said Rebecca Haag, President & CEO of AIDS Action. “As a result, this partnership will benefit every person living with HIV/AIDS who relies on Fenway or AIDS Action for care or services. By working together more closely, we’ll be able to grow available HIV/AIDS resources and services, and reach more people than either organization has been able to on its own.” [pullquote]“Partnering with AIDS Action will allow Fenway to reach a more diverse group of people living with HIV/AIDS, expanding our practice to provide care for people from new neighborhoods, cities and towns. It will also allow both organizations to maximize our HIV prevention and education work to help further reduce new HIV infections in Massachusetts and beyond.”[/pullquote]
The strategic partnership between Fenway Health and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts will exist under one corporate structure. Each organization will retain its non-profit status, names and brand identities under this new relationship. Fenway’s Board of Directors will assume fiduciary responsibility and governance of AIDS Action, and an advisory council will be formed to help support the work of AAC. Some members of AIDS Action’s Board will join Fenway Health’s Board of Directors, and some will join the advisory council. Stephen L. Boswell, MD, Fenway Health’s President & CEO, will continue in that position, and Rebecca Haag will remain as the CEO of AIDS Action Committee.
“Despite recent successes in reducing the HIV infection rate in Massachusetts, new infections continue to grow among some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Dr. Boswell. “Partnering with AIDS Action will allow Fenway to reach a more diverse group of people living with HIV/AIDS, expanding our practice to provide care for people from new neighborhoods, cities and towns. It will also allow both organizations to maximize our HIV prevention and education work to help further reduce new HIV infections in Massachusetts and beyond.”
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, it is estimated that 27,000 – 29,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts, and as many as one in five do not know that they are infected. Since 2000, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS as a long-term medical condition has increased 44 percent, and 11% of new HIV diagnoses between 2008 and 2011 in Massachusetts were among young people under age 25. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men account for a relatively small percentage of the overall population but make up 36% of those living with HIV/AIDS. People of color are also at increased risk of HIV infection, comprising roughly 57% of Massachusetts residents infected with HIV while representing only 16% of the state’s overall population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite success in curbing the rate of new diagnoses of HIV in Massachusetts, nearly 700 people are diagnosed as HIV positive each year, requiring extensive care and support to manage their health even as state and federal funding for this care continues to be cut. [pullquote]”… .Our partnership is also an early example of what the health care system is going to look like under the Affordable Care Act, which will require the streamlined delivery of health care services in tight coordination with wellness and prevention programs,” said Rebecca Haag, President & CEO of AIDS Action.[/pullquote]
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. These services include HIV counseling and testing; needle exchange; mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal services. AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization.
For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population. The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.
[From a News Release]