Ending the HIV Epidemic in Action

Telehealth: A Lifeline to Treatment and Support for People with HIV in Kentucky

Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.
Ending the HIV Epidemic

Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) is a bold new federal initiative that aims to reduce new HIV infections in the United States by 90 percent by 2030. The initiative is beginning with a targeted infusion of new resources, technology, and expertise to fight HIV in the communities that are now hardest hit by the HIV epidemic.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, HIV clinics and people seeking HIV-related services across the country were forced to quickly adapt to a new reality. Some clinics were able to stay open while providing limited services, while others suspended in-person visits completely. At stake was the health of hundreds of thousands of people with HIV who relied on these clinics for everything from ongoing HIV medical care and mental health counseling to food pantries and housing assistance.

Amid the uncertainty of those early days of the pandemic, telehealth—the distribution of health-related services and information via phone, tablet, or computer—emerged as a crucial and ultimately transformative way for some HIV clinics to provide a lifeline to patients.

Telehealth equipment positioned in a waiting room.

Clinics that implemented telehealth were able to tailor their approaches to meet the specific needs of their patients. In rural Kentucky, two organizations on the front lines of the local HIV epidemic created and are sustaining successful telehealth models, which are helping their patients remain healthy and connected throughout COVID-19. Through Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative (EHE) investments, paired with other resources, these organizations show what is possible when innovative strategies like telehealth are designed to reach people with HIV. These innovations build stronger health systems, establish and maintain meaningful connections with people with HIV, and save lives.

Page last reviewed: June 21, 2022