Missouri: Effort Supports HIV/AIDS Patients While Promoting Safe Sex
December 22, 2010
The St. Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA) provides free, confidential HIV testing and treatment referral to residents in the seven-county metropolitan area.
Data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services show the region reported 258 new HIV cases in 2009. Among male patients last year, black men comprised nearly 58 percent of new HIV cases and more than 59 percent of new AIDS cases. Among female cases in 2009, black women made up almost 84 percent of new HIV infections and roughly 87 percent of new AIDS diagnoses.
EFA Executive Director Cheryl Oliver said the goal is to get those who test HIV-positive into care and treatment. "Of the 2,384 people living with HIV/AIDS with no HIV care in the St. Louis region, over half -- 51 percent -- were African Americans," she said.
Oliver said testing is conducted in the group's RV or at its unmarked building. "We go to where the homeless congregate ... out to where we know the 'strolls' are ... where we know there is some drug use," she said of the mobile outreach.
"We schedule regular mobile testing unit days at a number of sites," Oliver continued. "We really try to set up some consistency, and then with our other high-risk areas we get out there as often as we can so people know that we are coming."
EFA employs 16 caseworkers to assist clients. "If someone tests positive there is rapid action protocol in place to get their info into the system so they can get case management services within 24 to 48 hours," Oliver said. "For drug use, we refer them into a drug rehab program. If they are homeless, we get them into housing -- Doorways. If they have no food, we get them to Food Outreach."
For more information, visit www.stlefa.org.
St. Louis American
12.16.2010; Sandra Jordan
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.
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