Texas: Grant to Fund Dental Care for People With HIV/AIDS
September 13, 2006
Thanks to an annual $400,000, five-year U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant, people with HIV/AIDS in a 23-county area of Northeast Texas will now be able to receive specialized dental care closer to home. Awarded by the division's Health Resources and Services Administration, the grant will go to Special Health Resources (SHR) in Texarkana.
"This grant will be able to provide ... more detailed dental services for HIV-positive people in our region," said Joey Pack, SHR's regional coordinator. "We were having to take people to Baylor in Dallas, but now we will be able to have these procedures performed here," he said. "It will save a lot of time and money. Our clients don't want to have to take a six-hour round trip from Texarkana. Instead of having to take our clients to Dallas, Dallas will be coming here."
Michelle Verser, SHR's client services director, said the project will serve as model for other programs across the United States. "The goal is to fully integrate dental and oral health care with primary care services for HIV-infected people." The HHS grant is one of 15 awarded nationwide, she said.
"Most of our local dentists are a little more uncomfortable with providing dental care" for HIV-positive patients, who have the same dental needs as other people but face more access difficulties, Pack said.
SHR, which also has a Longview office, offers testing for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C. Among its services, SHR provides its HIV-positive clients with medical care, laboratory work, housing and utility assistance, transportation and substance abuse counseling.
09.10.2006; Ashley Gardner
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.