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For World AIDS Day 2018, Illinois HIV Care Connect emphasizes that “good health is more than health care.”

For people living with HIV, regularly seeing a doctor and taking your medications is very important. But research shows that the social and economic conditions in which they live, learn and work have a tremendous impact on their health, as well. These conditions are known as “social determinants of health.”

Illinois HIV Care Connect may be able to help Illinois residents living with HIV with various social determinants and other issues affecting their health. Review the following points below, and learn more about social determinants by taking the “Good Health Is More Than Health Care Quiz!”

Contact the Illinois HIV Care Connect regional office near you to learn more. Access to Illinois HIV Care Connect services depends on an individual’s residency, income and insurance status. Not all services may be available, and the nature of services may vary by regional office.

  1. Food Insecurity
    Are you sometimes hungry or worried about not having food? Do you sometimes not have the money to buy food?
    You are not alone. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that one of eight Americans – 42 million people, including 13 million children – lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.Having enough food to eat is an important part of living healthy with HIV. Depending on their income level, Illinois residents living with HIV may qualify for food vouchers, a food bank or home-delivered meals.
  2. Health Care Costs
    Have you missed a doctor’s appointment or medical treatment because of the cost?
    Illinois HIV Care Connect can help Illinois residents find a doctor who can help them manage their HIV. A medical case manager helps them apply for Medicaid, Medicare or other insurance programs they may qualify for.Depending on their income level, Illinois residents may qualify for the ADAP Medication Assistance Program (MAP) or the CHIC Premium Assistance Program (PAP). These programs help pay for HIV medications or health insurance coverage.
  3. Housing Instability
    Are you worried about not having a steady place to live? Are you at risk of becoming homeless?
    People living with HIV sometimes risk falling behind on payments and losing their housing due to increased medical costs and having a reduced ability to work.Illinois HIV Care Connect can help Illinois residents living with HIV to find affordable options through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program.
    Depending on their income level, Illinois residents living with HIV may be eligible for short-term assistance to support emergency, temporary or transitional housing for them and family members while undergoing medical care for HIV. This aid is limited to a lifetime assistance of 24 months per household.
  4. Language Barriers
    Do you need help reading or understanding a doctor’s instructions?
    Sometimes, a doctor’s instructions can be hard to follow, especially if you are newly diagnosed with HIV. An Illinois HIV Care Connect medical case manager can help coordinate the services people living with HIV require and help them to follow their treatment plans. In addition, Illinois HIV Care Connect can help provide interpretation and translation services needed to access medical or support services.
  5. Access to Dental and Mental Health Care
    Do you need help finding a dentist or mental health care provider?
    Good dental and mental health care are essential to living healthy with HIV. Illinois HIV Care Connect can help find a dentist or mental health care provider.Dental care services available to Illinois HIV Care Connect enrollees include diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic services provided by a general dental practitioner, dental specialist, dental hygienist/auxiliary, or another trained primary care provider.Mental health services include psychological and psychiatric treatment and counseling services for individuals with a diagnosed mental illness, conducted in a group or individual setting, and provided by a mental health professional licensed or authorized within the state of Illinois to render such services. Learn more about HIV and mental health.
  6. Pregnancy and Child Care
    Are you pregnant or do you have child care responsibilities?
    Pregnant women living with HIV can improve their health and greatly lower the chances they will pass HIV to their babies by taking anti-HIV medications before, during, or after birth. If a woman takes anti-HIV medications as prescribed throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, and while breastfeeding, the risk of transmitting HIV can be 1 percent or less.This is all good news for people living with HIV, their partners and their babies. The key, though, is staying in regular care and taking anti-HIV medications every day, exactly as prescribed, to achieve viral suppression and to prevent transmission to others.Also, Illinois HIV Care Connect can put individuals in touch with community resources that provide breastfeeding support and education, well child care, All Kids insurance, parenting classes, and immunizations.
  7. Substance Abuse
    Are you struggling with alcohol, tobacco or drug use?
    Living healthy with HIV requires addressing alcohol, drug, and tobacco use. Depending on their income, Illinois HIV Care Connect enrollees may qualify for outpatient medical care or other treatment and counseling for the abuse of alcohol or other legal or illegal substances. The treatment and counseling can be rendered or supervised by a physician or another qualified professional.
  8. Transportation Needs
    Have you missed a medical appointment or health care treatment due to a lack of transportation
    Finding a way to get to a doctor’s appointment or a scheduled treatment or support meeting can be a problem for many. According to the American Hospital Association, more than 3.6 million people in the United States do not obtain medical care because they lack a vehicle, access to public transportation, or the money to buy a ticket. Missed or delayed health care appointments result in poorer health outcomes and higher costs.Once you are enrolled, Illinois HIV Care Connect can help you find transportation to important health care appointments or support meetings.
  9. Utility Stress
    Are you afraid your water, gas or electric may be shut off because you can’t pay the bills?
    Once enrolled in Illinois HIV Care Connect, people living with HIV may qualify for short-term payments for utility expenses, depending on their income level.