HIV/AIDS Direct Care
Our Transportation Program serves clients who have such limited financial resources (if any at all) that not having transportation is an enormous barrier to accessing—and remaining in—medical care as well as having access to other services such as mental health care, substance abuse treatment, pharmacies, and many other supportive programs and services. As such, when an HIV-positive individual in the Dallas area demonstrates that they lack the financial means or other options for transportation, we enroll them in our Transportation Program to eliminate this barrier and to ensure our clients have access to these critical services at no cost to them.
The majority of our clients receive bus passes on a monthly basis. In addition, we also provide van rides to and from appointments for clients that are unable to utilize the DART system for a variety of reasons, including—but not limited to—location, physical disability, and mental health status. When van service is unavailable, we provide taxi rides in order to be absolutely certain our clients can attend appointments. Clients use our Transportation Program to reach facilities where care and services are provided throughout the Dallas area.
Through our Nutrition Program, we provide prepared meals on site daily for adult clients. We prepare and serve breakfast and lunch in a congregate setting, providing more than 26,000 meals per year at no cost to our clients.
Clients of this program are eligible individuals with HIV/AIDS—who are often living with multiple medical co-morbidities. The majority of these individuals have unstable housing and living situations and do not have adequate, regular access to the nutrition they need to maintain their health. Once enrolled, clients may use our Nutrition Program as often as needed. In fact, many of our clients use the program on a daily basis, as the meals we provide are the only source of nutrition to which they have access on a regular basis.
Access to food as well as a stable and supportive environment is of utmost importance for individuals with serious illnesses—particularly those with HIV/AIDS. Positive treatment outcomes and improved health are ultimately dependent on clients having appropriate nutrition.
Our Nutrition Program provides healthy meals, helps clients to improve eating habits by promoting understanding of proper nutrition, and reduces their stress related to not having food. We also disseminate treatment and prevention information that encourages clients to access and remain in care and adhere to their medications, thus enhancing the outcomes of their treatment and reducing the need for emergency care.
The Daire Center is a day center for eligible adult clients to have a safe place to reside during the day, receive meals, participate in activities, rest, and have access to information and other resources. It also serves as a community-building place where clients can meet other individuals who are living with similar life circumstances. The goal of the Daire Center is to promote socialization, provide a safe environment, enhance stability for clients, and encourage adherence to medical care and treatment. Many of our Daire Center clients are homeless and have very few options when it comes to finding a place where they can spend the day when they can’t reside in shelters. Other clients utilize the program to make friends and establish greater social support—support that can be difficult for them to find at a time when there is still so much stigma and fear revolving around HIV/AIDS. Additionally, other clients use the Daire Center to periodically relieve their caregivers. The Daire Center operates daily and—once enrolled—clients may use it as often as they need.
Our Linguistic Services program provides verbal interpretation and written translation for HIV-positive, Spanish-speaking, monolingual individuals. We provide this service to clients of AIN as well as to clients of other organizations. For these individuals, all of the aspects involved in living with HIV/AIDS are often overwhelming due to the language barrier. We assist with the elimination of that barrier by providing interpretation and translation so that clients can complete necessary paperwork to access medical care and other services. We also translate educational materials. The service helps clients to better understand information regarding the status of their health and enables us to educate and provide information regarding HIV/AIDS terminology and medication regimens. We also assist these clients with other issues that come with living with HIV—such as stigma, disclosure, and social support. At times, we work with friends and family members. We typically provide these services on-site on a one-on-one basis as well as off-site in both individual and group settings.
AIN’s Manos Unidas initiative targets the Hispanic/Latino population and provides outreach, prevention education, testing, and linkage to care for these communities.
Under the umbrella of Manos Unidas, we are the lead agency for a healthcare program called Ventanilla de Salud at the Mexican Consulate in Dallas. This program is designed to improve physical and mental health of Mexicans who live in the U.S. We establish collaborations with—and provide oversight to—numerous healthcare agencies which join us on a daily basis to provide healthcare information, screenings, health insurance information, and assistance in enrollment in coverage.
Our agency primarily focuses on HIV and offers HIV prevention education and free HIV testing to over 600 individuals on a daily basis. We also oversee organizations which disseminate information regarding other important medical issues, such as high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease. On certain days, mammograms are offered at no charge to participants. Through Ventanilla de Salud, Mexicans who live in the U.S. have the opportunity to improve their access to primary and preventative health services.