The HOPE Board at Northwestern Memorial Hospital supports the Women’s HIV Program at the Infectious Disease Center at the hospital. This program is dedicated to the treatment of women with HIV or AIDS and the prevention of transmission of HIV to newborns. Since 1999, HOPE has raised over $700,000 for the program to fund critical social services support for patients, and will continue to drive for funding to help expand essential treatment and programming in the future.
The Women’s HIV Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides comprehensive interdisciplinary care for women with HIV to address the physiological, psychological and socio-economic factors that are unique to this population of patients. In addition to medical treatment, support can include childcare service, transportation to treatment, limited emergency funds for medicines, diapers, food and housing.
HIV-infected women are living longer with the promise of an improved quality of life. New medications are more effective than ever before, with fewer side effects. In fact, research indicates that getting a patient’s virus under control can make that person virtually non-contagious. Proper medications and their regular usage, reinforced by the Women’s HIV Program, have already demonstrated that the incidence of HIV-infected babies can be reduced to zero.
The program helps enable patients to take charge of their lives, starting with their commitment to proper treatment and extending that commitment to their lifestyles. Tools and support are available to live good lives with HIV, to start families with confidence, to learn proper parenting skills, to begin and maintain productive jobs, to adopt healthy lifestyles, and overall, to adopt and maintain a positive outlook. The program perseveres to invoke the community to recognize women with HIV as treatable and support them for proactively addressing their HIV.
An invaluable part of the treatment women can receive through the program helps to address the social and psychological challenges of dealing with the virus. In fact, 20 percent of HIV infections go untreated; women with HIV cite stigma and fear of discrimination as the biggest roadblocks to seeking and sustaining treatment. To help patients address these concerns, the Women’s HIV Program provides a licensed clinical social worker and peer-programming to connect newly diagnosed pregnant patients with existing patients who have been living with HIV and have children.
For more information on HOPE and the Women’s HIV Program, please visit hope-chicago.org.