Wake County HIV Clinic Recognized as Statewide Leader in HIV Care

UNC faculty members Robert Dodge, PhD, RN, ANP, Jacqueline Gibson, PA-C, Victoria Mobley, MD, Esther Metiko, FNP and Ann Dennis, MD, work at the Raleigh-based clinic, which has over 900 patients.

Wake County HIV Clinic Recognized as Statewide Leader in HIV Care click to enlarge Wake County Human Services HIV Clinic staff

The Wake County Human Services HIV Clinic was recently recognized for being one of the top clinics in the state in several measures of clinical performance. Five faculty members in the UNC School of Medicine work at the Raleigh-based clinic, which has over 900 patients.

On February 25, representatives from all ten state-funded HIV clinics gathered at the North Carolina AIDS Care Program Quarterly All-Network Meeting, where the HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) recognized programs that surpassed suggested federal performance expectations.

The Wake County HIV Care Clinic received HAB Performance Awards for being the statewide leader in hepatitis B and C screening for HIV-infected individuals. Ninety-eight to 99 percent of all clients at the facility have been screened for hepatitis.

Wake County’s clinic also received first place for adherence to medication treatment guidelines for HIV-positive pregnant women. The clinic was also recognized for its high client retention, CD4 testing, and adherence to guidelines for antiretroviral therapy (ART) for pregnant women with HIV.

“Our staff put a lot of time and effort to make sure we meet all these measures and don’t provide piecemeal care for our clients. Our ethos is to provide care on par with any HIV clinic in the United States,” explained Claire Farel, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at UNC and medical director at the clinic. “The people there are committed to serving the clients and providing holistic care. It improves outcomes when patients feel connected to the clinic.”

The clinic’s funding comes from the Ryan White CARE Act, which guarantees treatment to low-income or uninsured HIV/AIDS patients. UNC faculty members Robert Dodge, PhD, RN, ANP, Jacqueline Gibson, PA-C, Victoria Mobley, MD and Esther Metiko, FNP currently work full-time at the clinic. Ann Dennis, MD, an assistant professor at UNC, is there one day per week.

The majority of the patients at the clinic are poor and uninsured. Some are among the most marginalized and disenfranchised in Wake County, including prisoners from the county jail and the homeless. “It takes a lot of effort to engage people in care when they have competing concerns,” said Farel. Despite the challenges, the staff at the Wake County clinic has managed to provide quality care to its patients, including adherence counseling, nutrition services, mental health, and specialty services such as colposcopy.

This was the first time the HAB presented awards to North Carolina HIV clinics; the awards were well received and effective. According to Farel, the recognition is “really encouraging to our staff to show that their efforts were beneficial.” The awards motivate facilities all over the state to keep providing exceptional health care.

Robert Dodge is a clinical associate professor and the clinical director of the HIV Clinic at Wake County Human Services. Dodge congratulated everyone involved in the success of the Wake County HIV Clinic. “Without everyone's dedication and commitment to our clients, none of this could be possible,” he said.