HIV Testing & STI Testing
AHP has provided HIV testing services since 2006. Its HIV counseling and testing model focuses on voluntary-client requested rapid testing. The program employs multiple recruitment strategies that engage members of the community into integrated HIV/HCV testing services. AHP uses strategies such as street and community outreach, peer education, peer driven social network recruitment, alternative venue testing, and targeted mobile outreach to “hot spots” such as night clubs, homeless shelters, and parks. All strategies incorporate the use of mobile units and peer educators. Testing takes place on our mobile vans, in our Bushwick storefront office where case management, information and referral, advocacy, and client escort services are also offered, and at other community venues such as health fairs and community events.
AHP provides testing through mobile vans and program office locations. Counseling and referrals are also available, and AHP staff encourages tested individuals to work on a HIV transmission prevention plan regardless of the results of their current test. Individuals who receive a reactive test will immediately be provided a confirmatory test on-site and will be immediately linked to care.
AHP also utilizes HIV-positive or high-risk Network Recruiters to recruit through their peer-based social networks. It is crucial for the Network recruiters to reach those who may not know their HIV status, or tested negative previously but have not tested for HIV in more than a year, or are known to be HIV positive but have not been in HIV treatment for more than nine months to get tested and be provided linkage to primary and HIV specialty care.
Buprenorphine (Bupe, for short), is also known as Suboxone, and the drug has proved effective in helping people take control of their opiate use.
Bupe is similar to methadone in the sense that it is an effective substitute for opiates obtained from the black market, but unlike methadone which typically comes in liquid form and is picked up daily at clinics, Bupe is a strip that dissolves on the tongue and it can be prescribed by a doctor for a week or a month at a time.
AHP continues to educate it’s clients about the advantages that Bupe offers when they are ready to take that step.
Hepatitis C (HCV) Testing
AHP created the Check Hep C Project to promote HCV awareness and provide education in prevention in neighborhoods with high prevalence. AHP tests at risk individuals for those who test HCV positive, assist in helping them receive comprehensive medical and supportive services.
The primary objective of the project is to increase the capacity of community organizations and health centers, particularly those that serve high-risk populations, to facilitate access to and provide medical services for those with HCV regardless of their ability to pay. AHP will partner with community-based organizations and community health centers within target areas to test at least 5,000 persons for HCV and provide prevention counseling to those at risk for HCV infection
Health Education and Counseling
Education and risk reduction services are structured to enhance the knowledge base, health literacy, and self-efficacy of individuals at high risk for HIV/HCV/STD’s as well as HIV-infected persons. These services serve as a vehicle to encourage clients to access medical and supportive services in order to maintain optimal health.
Psychosocial support counseling is provided to assess client’s mental health needs and to provide counseling to encourage clients to access additional services. These services improve overall health and reduce barriers to medical care. If further counseling needs are identified, appropriate referrals are made to meet client needs.
Mental Health Services
AHP promotes the overall mental health and well being of people who use drugs through the provision of mental health services targeted to the unique needs of IDUs. A licensed clinical social worker works closely with clients to address the underlying causes of high-risk behavior, such as history of sexual assault, physical or mental abuse and other trauma.
The licensed clinical social worker performs client assessments, facilitates group and individual therapeutic counseling sessions and makes referrals for psychiatric and drug treatment. Individuals enrolled in this program receive a comprehensive mental health assessment each year and if needed are referred for more intensive psychiatric evaluation, treatment and/or medication.