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three doctors on steps
Front to back: Louise King, MD, Claire Farel, MD, MPH, and Shana Ratner, MD

A novel collaboration between UNC’s Department of Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases includes creating a multidisciplinary primary care clinic to serve people living with HIV. The new model lays the groundwork for multidisciplinary care in advance of the move to Eastowne.

Led by Claire Farel MD, MPH, medical director of the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic, Amy Durr, MSN, RN, FNP-BC associate director of the UNC ID Clinic, and Louise King, MD, new assistant professor in the division of general medicine and clinical epidemiology, the clinic will partner with UNC’s Ryan White programs, which provide comprehensive care for people living with HIV.

“As more people living with HIV have achieved undetectable viral loads on antiretroviral therapy and can expect to live a long time, we are faced with increasingly complex chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. We hope to offer excellent preventative health care in addition to excellent HIV care. We do know that conditions like vascular disease can have accelerated courses in people living with HIV and some cancers are more common. While their HIV may be well-controlled, we would like to provide excellent comprehensive care throughout their lives” says Farel, who is also co-director of UNC’s Center for AIDS Research Clinical Core.

King previously worked in Kigali, Rwanda where she participated in the Presidential Emergency Program for AIDS Relief program. She saw the advent of treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy for patients with HIV even in rural areas of Rwanda. “The dramatic change in these people’s lives really moved me. I also saw the complexity of treating HIV. It was more than just about medicines. It was also about stigma, culture, and socioeconomic barriers. I’m looking forward to being part of this partnership between the divisions of general medicine and infectious diseases to provide complete care to people living with HIV.”

The new clinic model will weave together HIV-specific expertise in the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic, where patients have access to social work, nursing, benefits, nutrition, and pharmacy resources supported by UNC’s Ryan White programs, with the expanded scope of care offered in the UNC Internal Medicine Clinic. The program will also collaborate with other department of medicine clinicians such as Subhashini Sellers, MD, MSc, assistant professor in the division of pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine, who leads the HIV-associated lung disease and smoking cessation programs with Eric Langhans, PA-C, and Amy Durr.

This story first appeared April 25, 2020 on the UNC Department of Medicine website