For people with HIV who are deaf or hard of hearing there is an added communication barrier when seeking services. Stephanie Harris, APLA's case manager for the deaf and hard of hearing, would like to get the word out about services available for deaf and hard of hearing clients.
According to Harris, the goal of APLA is to offer the same access to services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals as other clients have. "Having a case manager on-site at APLA that knows sign language ensures that services are more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing," says Harris.
There are many services that APLA can refer people to that are exclusively for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. This includes programs such as an Alcoholics Anonymous substance abuse program exclusively in sign language, a substance abuse recovery home for the deaf, a domestic violence survivor support group, and counseling with therapists who use sign language. A public TTY phone is also available at APLA on the second floor.
In addition to the programs and services offered exclusively to the deaf and hard of hearing, free interpreters for people with HIV/AIDS who are accessing other AIDS are also available. These interpreters are from AIDS Education/Services for the Deaf (AESD), a subsidiary of the Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness. Some examples of services they will provide an interpreter for include HIV testing pre/post counseling, most APLA services and support groups, with the exception of parties, doctor appointments, or Section 8 appointments.
Besides the interpreters AIDS Education/Services for the Deaf offers, they also have a new program called Women HIV Intervention and Prevention Program (WHIPP) that is designed to educate deaf and hard of hearing HIV negative women about staying negative.
Part of Harris' goal as the case manager for the deaf and hard of hearing at APLA is also to reach more women to give them access to services.
To reach Stephanie Harris, call (323) 993-1452 or TTY (323) 993-1582. Contact her for information on a new support group forming for HIV-positive clients who are deaf. AIDS Education/Services for the Deaf is located in Eagle Rock at 2222 Laverna. Or call/TTY: (323) 550-4252.
Legal Checkups are regularly offered by the HIV/AIDS Legal Services Alliance.
To schedule a consultation, call (213) 201-1640. Consultations are available in English and Spanish.
In a Legal Checkup, a client meets one-on-one with a counselor for a complete evaluation of his or her legal needs or concerns. Educational materials are provided to help assess legal problems. Appropriate referrals are then made to HALSA or other agencies.
Individuals who should consider a Legal Checkup include: Clients with a recent HIV diagnosis; clients needing assistance in immigration, housing, and wills; and clients who have not had a LCU in the last 12 months.
To be eligible, clients must provide a recent HIV diagnosis form, proof of current income, and proof of residency in Los Angeles County.
A drop-in group for individuals dealing with substance abuse issues meets at 4:30 p.m. each Tuesday in Room 422 at AIDS Project Los Angeles, 611 S. Kingsley Drive, Los Angeles.
For information about the group, call Lydia Szamraj at (213) 201-1446.
Memberships at Bodybuilders Gym, 2516 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, are available for purchase for active, registered APLA clients for $149 per year. To be eligible for the discount, clients must be referred by an APLA case manager. Day passes for the gym are not available.
Chiropractor Bruce Warder sees clients in Room 410 at APLA, 611 S. Kingsley Drive, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each Wednesday and Friday. Call (818) 705-4964.
This article was provided by AIDS Project Los Angeles. It is a part of the publication Positive Living.