North Carolina: "Lonely Ride Before I Got With RAIN"
December 23, 2010
Since its founding in 1992, the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN) has helped more than 800 people access HIV/AIDS services like medical case management, awareness and education programs, support groups, and social events.
RAIN serves roughly 200 clients in the Mecklenburg County area, which the non-profit says has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the state. Around 500 volunteers lend RAIN their efforts. Earlier this year, budget cuts forced the elimination of several staff positions, said the Rev. Debra Kidd, RAIN's chaplain and volunteer coordinator.
When nurse practitioner Denise Howard began volunteering for RAIN, the focus was on providing transportation to doctor's appointments, cleaning homes, and making hospital visits. Efforts revolved around preparing for clients' approaching death, she said. Now, thanks to advancements in HIV/AIDS treatments, volunteers' roles have changed from caregivers to friends.
RAIN organizes CareTeams, groups of volunteers matched with HIV-positive clients. CareTeam members function in various roles, but many act chiefly as friends to the patients to whom they are assigned.
At their recent annual Christmas get-together, one RAIN client sat with five friends, most of them members of St. Gabriel Catholic Church in south Charlotte and CareTeam members. The man, who asked not be identified, met the group about 10 years ago, around the time he was diagnosed with HIV. "They're good to me," he said. "It was a lonely ride before I got with RAIN."
For more information, visit www.carolinarain.org.
12.22.2010; Meghan Cooke
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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