Local and Community News
Dallas: AIDS Facility Helping Teens
April 9, 2003
Nearly three dozen teens are part of an adolescent program at Bryan's House, a Dallas facility that helps children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The program, a first for the center, provides social and educational support for teenagers with HIV or an infected relative.Adapted from:
"Ten years ago, they weren't living to see their teenage years," said Al James, development director for Bryan's House. "Now with the new medications, they are, and we realized there really wasn't a program that was addressing the teenage population."
Social worker Juan Carrion, who coordinates the program, spends his Tuesday and Thursday evenings organizing workshops and other events for the teens. "I want them to learn they have choices, they have options," Carrion said. "I don't tell the kids what they should do."
Dr. Kathleen Malee, a neuro-developmental specialist at Children's Memorial Hospital's Special Infectious Diseases Program in Chicago, said it is important for the teens to have friends they can relate to. "You can understand why the path through adolescence would be much harder for these teens," she said. "So knowing that other people are coping with the same issues you're coping with, and also knowing other teenagers with this disease have many of the same questions as you, is a plus. This is a new population of survivors, and we work with these families and learn the issues they grapple with, we see where the unanswered questions are and where we need to direct our research efforts."
Because transportation has been a problem for some kids, Carrion is working with other agencies to get more vans to transport the teens. He hopes to double the number of program participants in a few months.
Dallas Morning News
03.29.03; Jaime Jordan