Program Background

Chase Brexton Health Services is a federally qualified health center located in downtown Baltimore. The organization was formed in 1978 as an STD clinic for gay men in Baltimore, providing services out of a church basement.

As HIV and AIDS started appearing in the early 80's, Chase Brexton became the most well known clinic in the city of Baltimore for providing HIV testing and care. As the AIDS crisis grew, and treatment options increased for those affected, Chase Brexton continued to expand to meet the needs of the community. Today, over 30 years later, Chase Brexton operates four clinics in four different counties - with a staff of more than 20 medical professionals. The clinic serves anyone who is uninsured or under-insured, and provides extended services such as dental and mental health services, as well as specialists such as infectious disease doctors, gynecologists and pediatricians to meet the medical needs of its patients.

Current Testing Initiatives

Chase Brexton has been offering HIV testing for nearly 3 decades - and is currently one of few Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in the region which provides free HIV testing in the Primary Care Clinic. The clinic understands that connection to care is a very important step in the process. For those people who do test positive, Chase Brexton ensures that they do not leave the clinic without knowing the next steps they need to take. They have a protocol in place in order to help newly diagnosed people get connected to the care they need - immediately upon receiving their diagnosis - to live longer, healthier lives. This protocol has helped Chase Brexton achieve an 80% linkage to care rate.

Perfecting their system, however, does not mean that Chase Brexton isn't constantly evolving to meet the changing demands of the time. In 2006, when the CDC issued its revised recommendations for HIV screening, calling for routine screening of everyone aged 13 to 64, Chase Brexton expanded its screening efforts. Beginning in 2007, the center began offering routine, rapid screening to all new patients who come into the clinic - no risk factors needed.

Since 2007, Chase Brexton has tested close to 67 percent of their new patient population, and identified seven HIV positive individuals who self-identified as being in a "low-risk" category. This is significant, because these people don't know that they should be tested for HIV and could be unknowingly transmitting the disease.

This success in testing is due in large part to Chase Brexton's committed Medical Assistants, who play a critical role encouraging and successfully administering routine HIV tests at the centers.