Since 1997 the Warren-Vance Community Health Center (WVCHC) has provided a comprehensive continuum of primary care and specialty services for persons living with HIV/AIDS in Vance, Granville, Warren, Halifax and Franklin Counties. No one is denied medical care or support services because of the inability to pay; medical care and support services are given without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification or sexual preference.
Our population is 86% African American, 13% Caucasian and <1% Hispanic. Our population has also become more complex with Hepatitis C Co-infection at 10% and a growing Transgender population (2%). The Clinic’s targeted rural, minority population have very limited resources. In its 25th anniversary report on AIDS, Newsweek featured WVCHC - highlighting the growing AIDS epidemic in the black community, particularly southern, impoverished, rural North Carolina. In addition, journalist, Dan Rather featured WVCHC in its documentary, “Its A Southern Thing.” The documentary highlights the disparities and paucity of resources in the rural south. The primary focus of our services are young men of color including men who have sex with men only (MSMO) and women (predominantly African American) who are disproportionately affected by HIV and who have increased risk of developing AIDS as a result of untreated HIV infection. The clinic population is 60% Male and 30% of them are MSMO.
In addition to primary medical and dental care, as well as contracted 340B Pharmacy services, the WVCHC is closely linked with community-based organizations that provide risk-reduction, prevention, testing and counseling services for HIV/AIDS as well as for many of the chronic diseases that are prevalent in these rural communities. WVCHC has formed an alliance with the Warren Free Clinic, two community jails as well as the Health Department for Granville and Vance Counties to provide a health care safety network so that uninsured patients have access to specialty services. We operate three primary medical care clinics located in the small towns of Henderson, Warrenton and Franklinton. In December 2014 WVCHC began a food pantry for patients living at least 100% below FPL.
Since 2000 - our clinic population has grown from 35 patients to 300 patients due in part to the successful implementation of HIV testing initiatives. Despite this dramatic increase, we receive less money today to provide comprehensive care to our much larger HIV, more complex and aging caseload. Due to our resource challenges, we lack the structural support to provide much needed medical care to our patients, such as treatment for diabetes and hepatitis B and C. We also struggle with meeting our patients’ dental needs. Many of our patients must travel long distances to access care at the clinic, which is difficult given the lack of public transportation in the area. All of these challenges along with resource limitations make it very difficult to recruit physicians with the appropriate experience and expertise to effectively manage our patients’ HIV care and treatment.
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