June 28, 2012

Know Your Status — Get Linked to HIV Care

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This post is also available in: Spanish

A key tool in combating HIV/AIDS is the use of real information—take the test and take control.  Knowing your status is the first step in making decisions about maintaining your health, whether it is positive or negative. You can find a local testing site here as well as a locator for your area’s health care, supportive services and housing agencies—and if you are living with HIV, this a vital step in accessing life-extending treatments for HIV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only 28% of Americans who are living with HIV are able to reach optimal health.  The data demonstrates the decreasing number of people at every step; from persons not knowing their status to persons not accessing care or staying in care.   Undoubtedly homelessness or unstable housing arrangements interfere with this access.   Those experiencing homelessness have disrupted access to care with difficulties if attempting to maintain doctor’s appointments, in keeping medication safe – or lacking participation in care due to other pressing issues.  These facts help focus where action is needed—such as a response to housing needs to help level that cascade and ensure access to needed care.

You can also use this site here a locator for connecting to local projects funded under HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) – and other HUD programs.   These are the key organizations in our place-based partnerships, composed of persons in your community who can help you utilize housing as a platform for improving lives.  These community projects have made a difference, providing decent safe and affordable housing and support for service connections. You can also visit a showcase of housing innovations and models of care at the Homelessness Resource Exchange www.HUDHRE.info go to Find a Resource: HOPWA.

All of us must join this fight against AIDS and stronger collaborations can ensure that more than Americans with HIV reach optimal health.  The strongest partnerships have learned how to work together in using vital resources at the front lines of this epidemic, offering quality care and a safe and stable place to call home.

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