HIV/AIDS Outreach and Prevention
Enrollment and Client Advocacy
Our Client Advocates receive client referrals from case management agencies and enroll clients in AIN programs. Specific needs of each client are documented and utilized to help us determine which of our programs would be most beneficial to the clients. Oftentimes, we determine that clients could benefit from multiple programs. Our Client Advocates also emphasize the necessity of clients accessing and remaining in medical care. They assist clients, provide care coordination, collect data, and make referrals as needed.
Outreach And Prevention Program
The purpose of our HIV Prevention Program is to establish a base of knowledge and skills that will help targeted individuals and communities reduce or eliminate their risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV/AIDS. Intervention education is designed to help individuals understand how infection occurs and how to implement strategies to reduce risky behaviors, thereby reducing the numbers of new HIV infections.
Our program has a dual focus of preventing further spread of HIV and addressing socioeconomic barriers that that often make it difficult for our targeted populations to access health programs and services. We take a mufti-faceted approach to HIV prevention which includes performing outreach, prevention education, testing, and other relevant assistance to over 10,000 individuals in the Dallas area per year.
Our Services Include:
- Culturally competent, population-specific, and geographic-specific outreach to identify at-risk individuals, groups, and/or communities that need information, HIV and STD prevention education.
- Evidence-based prevention education and risk reduction sessions with individuals and families.
- HIV testing either directly or through collaboration with other testing providers.
- Collaborative services with programs such as the Dallas County Early Intervention Clinic to ensure newly-diagnosed individuals access medical care.
- Language assistance [Spanish] to monolingual individuals to enhance their understanding of HIV and address barriers to the receipt of important healthcare.
- HIV/AIDS and sexuality education within churches, religious organizations, denominations, or other faith-based programs.
Treatment As Prevention
In 2011, a study known as HPTN 052 proved conclusively that treating HIV-positive people with antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the risk that they transmit the virus by 96%. By suppressing the virus (lowering the amount of virus in the blood), HIV drugs not only keep people living with HIV healthy and alive—they help to prevent the virus from being passed on to others. The implications of the study are momentous. We now know that HIV treatment is a highly effective means of HIV prevention.
But treatment as prevention only works if HIV-positive individuals know their status, access medical care, remain in care, and take their HIV medications as prescribed. Unfortunately, in 2012, the CDC released data showing that almost 20% of HIV-positive individuals in the United States are unaware that they are HIV-positive. Furthermore, only 66% of HIV-positive individuals in the United States have been linked to medical care, and only 25% are taking their HIV medications as prescribed and are virally suppressed. Thus, at this point in time, treatment as prevention is only working with 25% of HIV-positive individuals in the United States.
We are taking these statistics very seriously. We are working in conjunction with other AIDS Services Organizations to expand outreach, expand HIV testing (so that more HIV-positive people know their status), encourage HIV-positive individuals to access and remain in care, and encourage them to take their medications.
At AIN, we have already expanded our outreach and testing programs, and we emphasize to our clients the importance of accessing and remaining in medical care as well as adhering to their HIV medications. Through our transportation and linguistics programs, we eliminate two major barriers that often stand in the way of our clients successfully receiving HIV treatment. Through our Nutrition Program, we provide our clients healthy meals that help them to tolerate and benefit from their HIV medications (most HIV medications must be taken with food in order to be effective and avoid side effects). By participating in our Daire Center program, clients receive critical social support that encourages them to remain in treatment and adhere to their medication regimens.