May 5, 2010
A comprehensive AIDS service organization in the city has begun a new program that specifically targets previously incarcerated people with HIV/AIDS. At an open house held in mid-April, about 100 people helped Philadelphia FIGHT inaugurate its new Institute for Community Justice (ICJ). For nearly a decade, Philadelphia FIGHT has offered resources and information for HIV-positive former prisoners.
"This is a chance to take the core messages and work we built there and bring it to anyone and everyone impacted by incarceration, regardless of their HIV status," said Laura McTighe, ICJ's co-director.
"We have counselors and staff members who work with people in housing, employment, reuniting them with their families, teaching skill-building and other programs that will help us to support them in reaching their goals and dreams," McTighe said.
In ICJ's "TEACH Inside/TEACH Outside" program, counselors work directly with local prison intake units to focus on short-term inmates. The inmates are introduced to the programs, which offer guidance on how to avoid recidivism and HIV infection. Founded in 2001, ICJ's "Prison Health News" publication is written by and for those who have been imprisoned, including many who have HIV. Its topics span from HIV medical updates and health care advocacy to mutual support.