Federal grant for Portland HIV/AIDS treatment shifts from city to nonprofit

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PORTLAND — A federal grant funding HIV and AIDS treatment in the city was successfully transferred to the nonprofit Greater Portland Health.

The $356,000 Ryan White Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will shift Jan. 1, the city announced Dec. 22.

HIV and AIDS treatment services through the Positive Health Program had been provided at the India Street Public Health Center. Those will shift Jan. 1.

The center, at 103 India St., will continue to provide free screening for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and remain home to the city needle exchange and the Portland Community Free Clinic, which serves uninsured adults.

City Manager Jon Jennings proposed the shift in the fiscal year 2017 budget, saying it could provide improved services and more access in addition to a higher reimbursement rate from the federal government.

Jennings initially sought to completely close the India Street Public Health Center. The screening and needle exchange services were left intact as a compromise before city councilors approved the budget in May.

HIV-positive and AIDS patients, and staff at India Street, took part in a committee to see that all patients were contacted and alerted to options for service, had medical records transferred to new health care providers, and to ensure GPH staff was properly prepared to provide care.

“I’d like to thank the staff at India Street for their professionalism, expertise, thoughtfulness, and competence that they have demonstrated during this complex and difficult time,” Jennings said. “Almost every single patient has been individually supported and helped to find a new medical home.”

Last month, GPH CEO Leslie Clark said she expects about 50 of 229 patients to shift from India Street. Based at 180 Park Ave., GPH has five offices, including one in the Brick Hill neighborhood of South Portland.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

A federal grant funding HIV and AIDS treatment was shifted from the city to Greater Portland Health, based at 180 Park Ave. GPH will begin providing care Jan. 1.