Today, people with HIV can live longer with this infection, with a better quality of life, than ever before. For this to be true, they should begin medical care and start treatment as soon as they are diagnosed. When people with HIV visit their health care provider regularly and take their medicine as directed, they’ll keep their viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood) as low as possible. A consistent low viral load can keep people with HIV healthy for many years, and a low viral load greatly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
The Health Department partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to address HIV needs in Vermont. CDC and HRSA provide funds that support medical care and treatment along with prevention programs for people living with HIV. They also offer guidance on a range of topics that can help those with the infection learn more about the virus and what HIV means for them and their families.
The Health Department combines federal and Vermont resources to work with local, community-based partner organizations. Together we work to ensure that people with HIV in our state have access to care. We support medical case management, mental health, medical nutrition therapy, out-patient ambulatory care and dental care for HIV patients. These services are delivered in both community-based and clinical settings for Vermonters with HIV who need assistance with getting and adhering to treatment. Helping all people with HIV in our state stay engaged in medical care benefits them, their families and all Vermonters.
If you are a Vermont resident living with HIV and are not in medical care, you need to know about the Vermont Medication Assistance Program (VMAP). VMAP provides financial assistance for purchasing prescription medications to Vermonters living with HIV who meet specific income guidelines. If you are eligible, this program may help pay for your medications, insurance premiums, co-pays and/or deductibles.
Vermonters with HIV can contact a local AIDS Service Organization (ASO) to meet with a medical case manager who can assist with completing the VMAP application and provide ongoing support. This single application can be used to apply for other benefits, such as dental health services, that help people stay in medical care and manage HIV infection.
The VMAP Medication Assistance Program Formulary is the list of all FDA-approved drugs to treat HIV that are covered under VMAP. New medications are added through an approval process in consultation with our Community Advisory Group, which is made up of people with HIV and medical professionals.
Vermont AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) and community-based organizations provide HIV medical case managers or peer-to-peer support that connects people living with HIV to medical care.
You, or your primary care provider, can contact the HIV specialists at the Comprehensive Care Clinics, in four locations around the state (Brattleboro, Burlington, Rutland and St. Johnsbury). The main office is located at the Infectious Disease Program at UVM Medical Center In addition to providing HIV care, they have medical case managers available to help with VMAP enrollment and ongoing support.
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center offers HIV specialty care and support services in a location that may be more convenient for some Vermonters living with HIV.
There are two physicians in Bennington who specialize in HIV care