Living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS can be overwhelming to a child, their family and the community in which they live. CHIP is here for individuals, schools and other community agencies who may have concerns about children under their care or who need information on pediatric HIV. Through knowledge, understanding and education, we help communities and families learn to support children and youth with HIV and their families.
CHIP provides wide-ranging services for those living with, affected by or at-risk for HIV. From children born with HIV, to teens at risk for HIV, young adults and pregnant mothers, we support everyone affected by HIV. CHIP offers treatment, conducts research and provides community outreach, prevention programs and HIV testing.
CHIP programs and clinics
The CHIP Youth Project (CYP)
The CHIP Youth Project (CYP) was established in 1997 and is the only comprehensive healthcare program in the Rocky Mountain region focused on serving youth (aged 13 to 24) living with HIV, affected by HIV or at-risk for HIV. CYP’s comprehensive services include HIV prevention and education, HIV testing, medical care and counseling services.
CYP is made up of doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers, a care coordinator, pharmacists, a mental health specialist and a dietitian, all of whom work hard to meet the medical, emotional and social needs of our patients.
Youth HIV testing
CYP provides free, confidential, rapid HIV testing to youth and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 and their partners. For more information or to schedule a test, please contact us at 720-777-2604.
Transition to adult care
We know that teens and young adults can make good decisions about their health when provided with the right information and support. CYP helps inform and empower kids so they are better prepared to navigate the healthcare system. We also train them so they can manage their own HIV care as independent adults.
Our goal is to ensure teens and young adults are prepared for the transition to adult care before they reach the age of 25. We offer a transition workshop and participants can also visit the adult clinic with a social worker to help with the process. Social workers follow patients for one year after transition to support them in engaging with new providers in an adult care setting.
Throughout the year, CYP hosts events that provide support, education and fun:
- Youth Day of Wellness: This free event incorporates various wellness activities including art, yoga, massage therapy, aromatherapy and much more.
- Transition workshops: These opportunities prepare young adults to move into an adult healthcare setting. The workshops cover everything from HIV basics to insurance.
- Healthy relationships: In a workshop setting, we help youth build healthier and safer sexual relationships, as well as develop coping skills needed to make decisions regarding whether, when and how to disclose and HIV diagnosis to family, friends and sexual partners.
- Challenge Aspen: This 4-day event in the Rocky Mountains challenges participants to ski, snowboard, raft and complete a ropes course with other HIV positive youth.
Linkage to Care
The Linkage to Care (LTC) program offers support to teens and young adults living with HIV. Our goal is to empower youth by providing education and tools to help them get high quality HIV care and support services. Though the LTC Program is based out of CHIP at the Children’s Hospital Colorado, we have designed it to support youth in getting care wherever they feel comfortable.
The LTC program serves anyone from 12 to 24 who is newly diagnosed with HIV, those with HIV who have never had HIV care or those who have been out of HIV care for 6 months or more. For those who are newly diagnosed with HIV, we provide comprehensive and intensive support services during the first months. We partner with a social worker who helps teach participants about the program and learns about the goals youth have for their healthcare. We can also help with accessing medical coverage and transportation and meeting basic needs.
The LTC program provides many services, including:
- One-on-one support and education
- Assistance navigating medical care and support services
- Assistance applying for financial support programs
- Gift cards for meals
- Transportation assistance
- Gift card for $25 upon completion of second medical visit
- Support on medical visits, including being accompanied by our LTC Coordinator
- Referral to support services
Additionally, if available, our LTC Coordinator can be there in-person at the time of diagnosis to meet with youth and discuss care options.
Anyone, including medical providers, community-based organizations and individuals, can refer a person to the LTC program.
For information, please contact us at 720-355-6195.
KNOW testing network
To expand access to HIV prevention information, diagnosis services and care for women in Colorado, CHIP created KNOW (Knowledge, Network, Opportunity for Women). KNOW is a group of committed agencies who have partnered with CHIP to provide HIV testing to women who are 25 years and older. CHIP provides HIV testing kits, training and tester support to our partner agencies. We also provide social work and find care for women who are diagnosed through KNOW.
The HOPE (Healthier Options for the Parenting Experience) Program was developed in 2005 as a collaborative program between CHIP and University of Colorado to provide comprehensive reproductive health counseling to those living with HIV. Regardless of HIV status, the HOPE Program provides consultation services and recommendations for people who wish to become pregnant, have a child with their HIV-positive partner or consider alternative options for parenting.
Our care expands far beyond medical treatment and supports our patients as whole people. We also care for their families and impact our broader community.
Medical services, HIV treatment and HIV medication
We offer several treatment and testing options for youth and young adults with HIV.
CHIP can provide medication for HIV treatment. Patients usually take the medication as a combination of several pills or liquids daily. The frequency and number of pills (or liquids) depends on your age as well as which medicines are most effective against your specific infection. Your CHIP team will help you determine which medicines are best for you.
Your doctor will request frequent laboratory tests to monitor immune function, control the HIV infection and learn how your body is tolerating medication. It’s common to have your blood drawn at least every 3 months. We usually conduct these tests even more frequently at the beginning of HIV care and throughout care as issues arise. Laboratory tests like these are the best way to monitor your progress and see how the medication is working.
HIV Treatment options
CHIP works in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health as a research site for the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group. This affiliation assures us access to the newest drugs and most recent developments in HIV treatment for children, teens, pregnant women and young adults. To be considered for this type of research, you will be evaluated for placement into treatment and protocol options. If accepted into a program, we will coordinate care with the adult research services to provide access to these new treatments for parents and youth in our care.
Outreach and HIV prevention
Through the CHIP Youth Project (CYP), we share information from our organization and the larger medical community about breakthroughs in treatment, care, support and education. Our staff participates with a variety of boards, steering committees, coalitions and community groups on HIV outreach and prevention. In working with key agencies, organizations and community members, we can provide our services in a way that best helps our community.
We also work hard to remove barriers that may prevent people from connecting with us. This includes trying to provide avenues to outreach and prevention to marginalized groups like members of the LGBTQ+ community, communities of color and incarcerated persons.
The Southern Colorado Health Collaborative (SCHC) is an outreach and prevention program sponsored by CHIP that provides enhanced HIV and Hepatitis C testing and educational services in rural Southern Colorado. SCHC provides services in dozens of counties, including Alamosa, Bent, Fremont, Las Animas and Otero. New testing and new sites are coming aboard regularly. For more information, please contact us at 720-951-2693.
Request a speaker
CHIP staff are available for presentations, speaking engagements and working groups on HIV and AIDS, including but not limited to prevention, staff trainings and other current related issues. We are available to medical staff, case managers, agencies of any kind, students and community groups. Contact us at 720-777-8233 with information on the type of message you’d like to communicate, the audience type, number of people who will be attending and area of focus you are interested in and we can discuss what options may be available.
HIV testing and HIV screening
CHIP offers free, confidential, rapid HIV testing to anyone who would like it. We use test kits that provide results in 20 minutes. In the case of an HIV positive test result, we also offer a blood draw to confirm the result on site.
CHIP also offers free, confidential HIV testing for youth in the Denver Metro Area and Colorado Springs in partnership with multiple agencies. Call us for more information at 720-777-2604.
CHIP offers emotional support and community resources to individuals and families who are involved in our program. CHIP sponsors activities that allow families to connect with other families facing similar challenges. Clinical social workers are also available to assist those in need of support.
The decision to tell someone about your infection, also known as “disclosure,” is an issue we discuss at length. This is a decision that you must be comfortable with. Your decision may be based on different reasons if you’re a teen or young adult with HIV or a parent or caregiver of a child with HIV.
For parents of children with HIV, our advice early on is to be conservative about who you tell regarding your child’s HIV diagnosis. Once the information is out there, you can’t take it back. This is also true with those who are adopting a child with HIV. CHIP can help you weigh the factors involved in disclosure and help you decide what’s best for you and your family.
Services for women and mothers with HIV
CHIP helps expectant mothers with HIV obtain services and support. We take a three-fold approach:
- Collaborating with referring physicians and care providers
- Coordinating care for the best outcomes for mother and baby
- Providing compassionate support for pregnant women and their families
CHIP’s multidisciplinary team includes specialists from Children’s Hospital Colorado, UCHealth and Denver Health Medical Center. Our team members include physicians specializing in infectious disease, pediatrics, maternal and fetal medicine, gynecology and internal medicine. We are also supported by nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, pharmacists, developmental neuropsychologists and dietitians — all with extensive expertise in HIV.
Key benefits of this HIV-specific partnership include:
- Multidisciplinary approach assuring we meet your emotional and social needs
- Family support and services coupled with patient education, counseling and a referral to HIV-related community services
- Comprehensive care plans and travel assistance for women living outside the Denver area
CHIP services are unique:
- We are the only resource in the Rocky Mountain region with specialists in both HIV and pregnancy.
- We see parents and their babies at the same time, improving care and reducing family stress.
- CHIP provides women and their children access to clinical trials and new treatment.
- We respect the existing relationship you have with your provider while assuring you get the best care.
Translation and interpretation services
To help ensure families understand their child’s medical care and circumstances, we offer in-person interpretation services to patients who would prefer to communicate in a language other than English, or who are deaf or hard of hearing. Please ask your nurse or any staff member about this service during your visit.
Additionally, each inpatient room has a blue phone for interpretation. These are voice activated and can help interpret in a variety of languages.
Para comunicarse con Children’s Hospital Colorado, por favor, llame al 720-777-1234 y pida hablar con la operadora que habla Español.
CHIP has been involved in HIV-related clinical research for decades. Clinical research asks volunteer participants to help researchers conduct medical and behavioral research. Researchers ensure their clinical trials are ethical to protect all those participating and follow strict scientific guidelines. This research helps us uncover better ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and understand HIV.
Our HIV clinical research can focus on several things, including:
- Treatment: Testing new treatments or new combinations of drugs
- Prevention: Looking for better ways to prevent HIV, which may include vaccines, lifestyle changes or preventive medicines
- Diagnostics: Finding better tests or procedures for diagnosing HIV
- Screening: Testing better ways to detect HIV
- Quality of life: Exploring and measuring ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with HIV
This helps us bring the very best in HIV care to you, faster. New studies open on a regular basis. To find out if clinical research is right for you or for more information about our current research studies, contact the CHIP research team at firstname.lastname@example.org.