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When engaged in medical treatment, people diagnosed with HIV can lead long, healthy lives. The medical treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy (ART). If ART is taken correctly and consistently the HIV viral load will become undetectable and is no longer transmittable to others. The primary goal of the 1917 Social Work Department is to help our patients obtain and maintain an undetectable viral load status. We do this by talking with patients to identify and overcome barriers to attending their medical appointments and taking their ART as prescribed. Clinic social workers often assist patients with transportation to medical appointments, access to health insurance, obtaining prescriptions, medical equipment, mental health support and referrals to community resources.

As part of their medical care team, every patient of the 1917 clinic is assigned a licensed social worker. All Medical Social Workers are licensed at the Master level by the Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners. The department adheres to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.

The social worker will complete an extensive psychosocial assessment with the patient that includes areas such as living situation, financial resources, mental health status and more. Once their social service needs are identified, an individualized treatment plan will be developed to combat these needs. The social worker will provide education about HIV and ensure that patients understand the importance of taking ART consistently and the impact of inconsistent ART adherence on their health outcomes. Patients will be offered information on the importance of advance directives and be given an opportunity to complete their own advance directive with the social worker’s assistance.

The social Worker is also responsible for determining a patient’s eligibility for the Ryan White Part C grant. Eligibility is based on insurance status, income amount and residency in Alabama as outlined in the grant. The social worker will assess each patient’s Ryan White eligibility once every 6 months. Qualifying patients are required to provide valid income and residency statements annually. Patients who qualify for the Ryan White grant may have access to clinic services that are funded by the grant, such as medical transportation, dental care, help with medication costs, housing referrals and more. Please note that RW grant eligibility is only one of the necessary qualifiers for many of these programs.

The Social Work Department operates Monday - Thursday 8am-5pm and Friday 8am-3pm. All social workers have direct phone numbers and are also accessible on the UAB patient portal. Patients may call the main clinic line 205-934-1917, if they do not know the social workers number or need assistance identifying who their assigned social worker is. In order to ensure the social worker is available, patients are encouraged to make an appointment before coming to the clinic. Please call the Transportation Service Line for transportation needs at 205-975-8667. Walk-in social services are available on a limited basis only.