Bronx hospital aims to lower HIV rates in young people with new messaging platform
A Bronx hospital is the first in the city to launch a new messaging platform meant to drive down HIV rates in young people.
The Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine will explore a secure text and video messaging platform to better connect doctors to their young LGBTQ patients living with HIV.
It will also allow professionals to send patients reminders about their medication, and check in on a patient's mental health.
The platform is expected to launch in the next three months, and was made possible by a $975,000 grant awarded by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
"Through this grant, we're going to be giving them intensive support through the text messaging, by education, and as well it's going to support us hiring additional social workers," says Dr. Barry S. Zingman, the principal investigator of the grant. "This model of care has shown in other cities to increase the number of people with HIV who are virally controlled."
The Bronx is home to approximately 25,500 people living with HIV, with almost 500 residents newly diagnosed and nearly 500 who die each year, the hospital says. Approximately one in four new HIV diagnoses in the city occurs among Bronx residents, with most newly diagnosed people identifying as Black or Hispanic and ages 39 or younger.
The Oval Center at Montefiore will add new positions as part of this program, including two patient navigators to respond to texts from patients, a social worker to assist with challenges patients may experience in their personal lives, and an LGBTQ peer to support patients.