Innovative nurse-led HIV prevention and treatment program wins OHTN Award

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2019

Author: Anne-Marie Gagnon

During a placement as an undergraduate student in Nursing, providing care to the most vulnerable on the streets of Ottawa, Patrick O’Byrne witnessed first hand the significant disparity in access to care for marginalized populations. These experiences forged his research path to develop healthcare delivery models to address such social injustice.  

Now a Faculty member at the School of Nursing, Patrick merges his training as a clinical nurse practitioner and researcher, a unique combination, to address access to care for vulnerable populations at high risk for HIV infection. HIV transmission continues despite the development of effective and safe prevention (PrEP) and post-exposure therapies (PEP). For vulnerable populations at high risk for HIV infection, barriers to access, including prohibitive costs and stigma, prevent uptake of these measures. Patrick and his team (graduate students in Nursing) have partnered with Ottawa Public Health to develop and initiate a community-based, nurse-led program addressing this gap in clinical care. The real life setting of the program, allows for a true examination of social and other factors that influence uptake of the interventions, and will help tailor care delivery models to meet the needs of these populations. The program’s early success has been noticed and other Public Health Boards are interested in implementing similar initiatives.

For this pioneering work, Dr. Patrick O’Byrne receives the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) Chair in Public Health and HIV prevention. Please see the news release from OHTN. Funding from the Chair and from an operating grant, also provided by OHTN, will support his efforts to reduce HIV incidence through effective interventions provided by community nurses. 

More details of the OHTN Endgame Initiative can be found on their website: Endgame Funding Program.

To find out more or for information on how to participate in the Ottawa Public Health PrEP and PEP program led by Dr. O’Byrne’s team, please consult the Ottawa Public Health Sexual Health Clinic website.

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