HIV Counseling, Testing and Linkage to Care
Get Tested for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis C
Increased public awareness and advancements in medicine over the past three decades have led to remarkable strides in preventing the spread of HIV and improving the quality of life of those living with HIV or AIDS in the U.S. For instance, because of better screening and access to medication, there are far fewer cases of HIV-positive pregnant women transferring the virus to their newborn babies. Fewer than 100 infants were born with HIV last year, compared to more than 900 in 1992. This and other areas of progress are worth celebrating--yet major challenges remain in combating HIV and AIDS among teens and adolescents.
HIV/AIDS Education & Outreach
On a southwest Houston street known as a hangout for drug abusers, a nondescript van pulls to the curb and stops.
A knot of people idles on the sidewalk, perhaps waiting for something to happen. They eye the vehicle and a few of them begin moving casually toward it. Soon they are talking with the people inside. Before long, one of them receive one-on-one conversation. It is a scene that an uninformed onlooker might think would arouse the suspicion of the local police. Instead, it has their hearty approval. Several days a week, this unmarked vehicle roams the streets of Harris and Ft Bend counties in Greater Houston, on the lookout for at-risk populations and substance abusers. It gives them something that can save rather than destroy their lives: free HIV testing and a range of other services including referrals to drug treatment, health care, housing, and more.
Riding in the vehicle are two trained health educators on the staff of EDP, a program of the Bee Busy Inc, a 25-person agency that is one of the oldest and largest providers of HIV services in the region.
“Rapid testing is one of Bee Busy’s true legacies,” said Ivan Prader, Bee Busy staff member and B2M leader, “It’s one of the important initiatives that’s changing the way we do business. Rapid testing changes people’s knowledge of their health status so they can improve what they do about it.
There are also other important rapid testing initiatives underway at Bee Busy, including successful education-based initiatives and programs at minority education institutions reaching underserved populations in very innovative ways. I am looking forward to sharing these programs with our constituents in the future.”
In Texas, 53,000 teen births occur each year, making it the third highest state in the U.S.
"Pregnancy is a serious public health issue for young people, but this is a winnable battle," said Mitchell, execute director of Bee Busy, Inc "We need to do more to educate teenagers on risky sexual behavior and encourage abstinence."
In Harris County, 8,000 teen births occur every year, the number is a staggering, a cost of $156 million dollars to tax payers.
"We will be working with school districts and community partners to implement the programs in public schools," Norman Mitchell said. "The best part of these grants is that all of the evidence shows these programs will work to delay sexual initiation among teenagers."
The STRAPP team members would visit the classroom a total of 8 times (once or twice weekly, 60 – 90 minute sessions to be held during school or as an extended day program). The program encourages school children to choose their values about sex and then protect those values when they are challenged. For students who are already sexually active, the intervention encourages participants to use condoms consistently and correctly, use an effective method of birth control, and get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
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