Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Access to Care: AmidaConnect

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

December 12, 2011








New York City has one of the highest rates of new HIV/AIDS cases in the nation. The boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx comprise 64% of all HIV/AIDS cases in the State alone.

New York City also has the highest cumulative number of AIDS cases through 2007—higher than other heavily affected areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some HIV-positive New Yorkers experience complex health needs and face an array of barriers to treatment, including homelessness, poverty, racism, stigma, addiction, homophobia, mental illness, and/or incarceration. Thus, many HIV-positive New Yorkers view HIV/AIDS treatment as a lower priority when compared to more immediate needs. In order to reach these difficult-to-access populations, Amida Care devised a plan to use mobile engagement teams (METs) to work with individuals who are dually or triply diagnosed as HIV-positive and with co-occurring mental illness and/or substance use disorders. The METs built off a collaboration called AmidaCONNECT, which comprised Amida Care and five other organizations and funders. AmidaCONNECT attempted to combine access to primary care for HIV-positive New Yorkers who were not receiving treatment with a stronger service system, thereby enabling primary care physicians to retain patients in their care. METs were located at partner organizations in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Amida Care received a three-year Social Innovation Fund grant from AIDS United, in the amount of $395,000 per year, to fund this project. In 2011, NYHealth awarded Amida Care a $75,000 matching grant to support the initial enrollment period of the three-year initiative.

Using its highly effective AmidaCONNECT program, which combines evidence-based health behavior change strategies, field-based approaches and care coordination interventions, Amida Care provided enhanced street outreach and engagement services to 1,125 dually and triply diagnosed HIV+ individuals, most of whom also require mental health care, stable housing, and detox/rehab services in order to fully involve themselves in care. These targeted clients were aware of their HIV status, but did not actively access treatment or services, placing themselves at elevated risk for advanced disease.

Amida Care was a recipient of a national Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant, an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service intended to improve the lives of people in low-income communities. NYHealth funds supported a match contribution requested to meet the requirement of the SIF grant program. NYHealth participated in this matching program with other funders, such as the New York Community Trust.