28 Mar AMERICAN ACADEMY OF HIV MEDICINE AND THE INSTITUTE FOR TECHNOLOGY IN HEALTH CARE ANNOUNCE THE RIPPLEPHX TEAM AS THE 2019 HIV PRACTICE AWARD WINNER
Washington, DC: The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) is pleased to announce Maria Ann Andrews MSN, FNP-C and the RipplePHX team in Phoenix, AZ, are the winners of the annual AAHIVM/Institute for Technology in Health Care HIV Practice Award. Andrews and her team will receive $25,000 in recognition of their unique approach to engaging the community by leveraging innovative technology to reach those living with HIV and those most at-risk.
The award-winning technology, a mobile HIV prevention kiosk called “Ariel” was developed by RipplePHX, a nonprofit organization that recognized that while 30+ HIV-related organizations in Phoenix, Arizona were successfully serving existing clients, thousands of at-risk individuals still weren’t actively engaged or being reached for services. In 2018 RipplePHX launched the mobile “Ariel” outreach units to motivate those individuals to educate themselves about HIV transmission risk and to seek out direct clinical services and referrals for supportive services.
This mobile HIV prevention kiosk is a round, rolling, wireless outreach unit that brightly glows through frosted plexiglass designed to capture the attention of people who may be at high-risk for HIV. Ariel communicates easy-to-adopt methods to reduce the spread of HIV specifically by offering its interfacing subjects targeted prevention and treatment information.
“High-risk LGBTQ+ Millennials often don’t travel in exclusive LGBTQ+ social circles as the Baby Boomers and Gen X populations once did, creating an important shift in where HIV organizations must recruit young at-risk individuals to adopt a method of prevention or to engage in treatment,” stated Andrews. “Also, HIV stigma remains present among Baby Boomers and Gen X populations, often making it shameful for those groups to engage in HIV-related services.”
According to Andrew’s award application, Ariel is the centerpiece at nightclubs, colleges, bathhouses, and other community-based locations. Each kiosk has 4 tablets loaded with exciting quizzes and activities that encourage socially-connected individuals to talk openly about HIV. Tablets also email lists of providers for HIV, prevention services, and/or Transgender resources. Ariel also acts as an EMR where participants can register for free HIV Testing through HIPAA Compliant Web Forms. The Tester is electronically notified of the registration and can digitally page the person to the testing area. Ariel’s tablets also work to qualify participants to instantly receive an At-Home HIV Test Kit. All services are available in English and Spanish.
“Since Ariel is wireless, mobile, and fits through most doorways, she shifts traditional outreach methods from workers standing behind a table, to an outreach table that travels directly to the people – filled with exciting HIV-related activities,” says Andrews. “The kiosk is designed to be attractive and engaging to a wide audience, but specifically tailored to engage high-risk individuals who aren’t engaged with HIV-related education or services or who may feel embarrassed about engaging.”
In her first 7 months, Ariel distributed over 10,000 quick-start educational materials to people at 76 outreach events. Those interactions are expected to number more than 25,000 in 2019. The focus of each outreach event is different based on the audience and location.
“We know we have the prevention and treatment tools to end the HIV epidemic in this country,” said Bruce Packett, AAHIVM executive director. “The challenge is getting education about HIV to those that need it, while at the same time defusing stigma around the issue. Ariel effectively tackles both challenges. We are very pleased to present our award to RipplePHX and hope the funds will extend their reach to an even larger population.”
In its eighth year, the AAHIVM/Institute for Technology HIV Practice Award seeks to acknowledge those who have created, adapted and/or used innovative technology in their HIV practice and to share that technological knowledge with others in the practice of HIV medicine to improve patient care.
As the winner of the AAHIVM/Institute for Technology in Healthcare HIV Practice Award, RipplePHX president, Jeremy Bright will present “Ariel” at the ACTHIV conference in Miami, FL on April 12th.
# # # #
The American Academy of HIV Medicine is a professional organization that supports the HIV practitioner and promotes accessible, quality care for all Americans living with HIV disease. Our membership of HIV practitioners and credentialed providers give direct care to the majority of HIV patients in the US.
The Institute for Technology in Health Care (ITHC) encourages the use of technology in various fields to benefit health care. ITHC wishes to stimulate users, researchers, and students to present papers to groups of their peers, or write articles that demonstrate how they have used technology from any field to benefit the practices of medicine to improve health in any community. It is also interested in stimulating innovative projects that use technology from any field to benefit health.