Texas: Fewer Die, but HIV Warrants Concern
November 10, 2006
Fort Worth's AIDS Outreach Center (AOC), a nonprofit agency, opened in 1986 as a counseling center to help people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS deal with their prognosis. HIV infection, originally thought of as a death sentence, is now often manageable with medication.
"We have clients that have been living with HIV for more than 20 years," said Dara Austin, executive director of the center, which is Tarrant County's leading AIDS service provider. Although fewer people are dying from HIV/AIDS, she said, HIV infection rates are rising among women, ethnic minorities and people ages 18-30.
With an annual budget of $3.1 million, AOC helps about 5,000 clients per year through direct intervention, outreach and prevention initiatives. The center is one of 40 partner agencies of the United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County, currently conducting its annual fundraising campaign.
AOC handles case management and offers mental health counseling. The agency provides peer advocacy to those newly diagnosed with HIV, assistance with navigating the system, youth and legal services and an on-site nutrition center at its main office.
Austin said AOC receives between $80,000-$100,000 from United Way, which helps donors see the agency has to be accountable for its money.
Today, about 65 percent of AOC's clients are heterosexual, Austin said.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
11.06.2006; John Gutierrez-Mier
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.