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UNIFIED HIV Services Gets a Power-Up With New Vivent Health Merger

Marketplace Story

For more than 40 years, Southeast Michiganders have relied on UNIFIED HIV Health and Beyond for a wealth of resources, from pop-up, confidential testing sites to connecting with preventive measures like PrEP and the management of HIV. A recent merger with Vivent Health, a leading national provider of integrated HIV prevention, care and treatment services, will expand the umbrella of services to include a more holistic approach, one that addresses wide-ranging treatment barriers, from housing and food insecurity to comprehensive mental health care. 

”We’re not just treating HIV, we’re treating disparities created by socioeconomic and structural barriers to care. That includes food and housing issues that are plaguing many areas. But when you’re also trying to manage or establish care for HIV, they become essential. You want to tend to those first before you can think about managing chronic disease or conditions,” explains Vivent Health President and CEO Brandon Hill.

Brandon Hill, Vivent Health President and CEO. Courtesy photo
Brandon Hill, Vivent Health President and CEO. Courtesy photo

Hill says the UNIFIED board of directors approached Vivent Health about a potential merger with a goal of replicating the success the organization has had in other cities across the country. The UNIFIED merger will extend Vivent Health’s reach to six states and the number of clients served to nearly 20,000. Says Hill, “Like other organizations in other parts of the country, the UNIFIED board came to us and said, ‘We want what you’re doing in Milwaukee,  Chicago and St. Louis. How can we forge a partnership?’”



While UNIFIED has been a lifeline for people in the Detroit metro area for four decades, the organization’s smaller footprint has made it challenging to deliver on the need for a more holistic approach – something the organization identified as a priority to achieve the best outcomes.

The latest research indicates that roughly 20% of the 11,000 people living with HIV in metro Detroit are not engaged in care, which is shown to lead to poorer health outcomes (AIDSVu, 2021). Further, a disproportionate number of metro Detroit people living with HIV are people of color (68% are Black and 23% are Hispanic/Latinx). 

Vivent Health’s integrated HIV care and treatment approach has been shown to reduce these disparities in other cities, with 95% of patients served achieving viral suppression. These results surpass the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' 2030 Ending the HIV Epidemic target of 90%, as well as the national rate of 66% and Michigan's rate of 72%. Particularly noteworthy is that 93% of Vivent Health's Black/African American patients have attained viral suppression, a marked improvement compared to the national rate of 62% and Michigan's rate of 67%. (AIDSVu, 2021). Viral suppression is key in ensuring individuals with HIV can enjoy a full life expectancy and also prevents HIV transmission to others, thus curbing new infections.

“With racial inequities continuing to drive the HIV epidemic, the need to transform the way we deliver HIV care and prevention services in Detroit and broader Michigan is clear. Which is why our Board pursued bringing Vivent Health’s innovative model of care to our community,” said Matt Browning, Chair of UNIFIED’s Board of Directors. “Seeing the positive impact Vivent Health is making in a growing number of communities, we’re confident that adopting their transformational approach will enable us to battle gaps in access to HIV care and provide long-term sustainability.”

Expanded Services on the Way

In the coming months, metro Detroiters will gain access to a menu of services reaching far beyond HIV prevention, testing and treatment. Hill says the Vivent Health merger will soon connect clients to services aimed at helping people meet fundamental needs identified by the local community. “We believe it’s so important that local boards, communities and organizations determine what additional healthcare and services should be in the space for the HIV community,” Hill says. “UNIFIED has been doing case management for a long time and they’ve provided a wealth of support, so we are confident when they pointed to a need for more integrated care.”

Everybody’s needs are unique, and Vivent Health believes their care should be too. Whether a person needs HIV medical care or help overcoming food and housing insecurity, mental and behavioral health, pharmacy care, or other social services, Vivent Health’s goal is to be here for them. Some services will be provided in-house, and others will be delivered through partnerships and referrals with local healthcare systems and community organizations.


“We’re here to complement what Detroit and Southeast Michigan already offer,” says Hill, “Our model of care is known for engaging people living with HIV who are out of care. Doing all we can do to connect with and better serve these folks is the only way we will end the HIV epidemic.”

Follow the Unified-Vivent Health merger journey and find resources at miunified.org/home.


This content is made possible through our partnership with UNIFIED/Vivent Health. Partnerships like these enable Pride Source to produce free, quality storytelling for the LGBTQ+ community.



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