AIDS Services of Austin announced that they are now part of Vivent Health, a national HIV health care provider, with locations in Colorado, Missouri, Wisconsin and now Texas, committed to serving everyone affected by HIV/AIDS through comprehensive, integrated prevention, care and treatment programs and services. The merger was previously announced at ASA’s annual fundraising luncheon, Building Healthy Futures, in February.
Formerly known as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee-based Vivent Health has been expanding nationally for the past several years. In 2015, the then-AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin merged with Madison-based AIDS Network under the ARCW name, expanding its footprint across Wisconsin. In 2017, ARCW expanded in to Colorado with its merger with Rocky Mountain CARES which operated in Denver, followed by Missouri when it merged with St. Louis Effort for AIDS in 2018. ARCW rebranded as Vivent Health in January.
Mike Gifford will continue to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of Vivent Health, and Paul Scott, former Chief Executive Officer for ASA, will now serve as Vice President, Texas for Vivent Health, continuing to lead the organization’s response to HIV/AIDS in the region. Current ASA board of directors will join the Vivent Health local advisory council.
As the newest member of Vivent Health, the Austin location will continue to provide the only integrated HIV/AIDS care in Austin and will significantly expand programs and services to build healthier lives for Central Texans at risk for and living with HIV/AIDS. With 15 locations in four states, Vivent Health has the scale and resources to enhance care for the Austin community.
“ASA has an impressive record of providing effective treatment and prevention programs and services for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Austin,” said Gifford. “We are excited to join forces with them to expand and evolve the services they currently offer so together we can deliver the best outcomes for the people in Austin. We are stronger, and together, will help people with HIV thrive in pursuit of our vision of a world without AIDS.”
The expansion includes building an in-house pharmacy, adding five new mental health therapists, increasing food pantry services to five days a week and serving 1000 new patients. The HIV Medical Home model, for which Vivent Health is nationally renowned, is an integrated, patient-centered model of care that helps people with HIV live long, healthy lives. “We are excited to bring the HIV Medical Home model of care to the Austin community so the people we serve can thrive,” said Scott. “Honestly, we couldn’t have joined the Vivent Health family at a better time.”
“Our current programs and services will increase in the months to come, including offering a pharmacy and expanded PrEP services which will allow us to stay committed to the health and well-being of anyone impacted by HIV/AIDS in central Texas well into the future,” added Scott. Austin has seen an increase in the demand for programs and services in recent years, as a record number of people are living with HIV/AIDS. According to AIDSVu, there are currently 6,063 people living with HIV/AIDS in Austin with 17 percent of people living with HIV who do not know their status. In addition, one out of six people living with HIV in Austin are not getting the care they need.
Becoming part of Vivent Health has also allowed Austin programs and staff to act with agility during the current COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the delivery of essential services at a time when they are needed most. Under the Vivent Health COVID-19 Radical Response, virtual work solutions and program mobilization are allowing staff to continue meeting the needs of clients in difficult circumstances. The organization is also able to make investments in infrastructure and technology to ensure access to services, and has made a commitment to continue paying all employees during the pandemic, ensuring the team can remain dynamic and effective in allocating staff resources where they are most needed.