The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

HIV testing, prevention education, counseling for homeless women and adolescents.

Grant Information
Categories Healthcare
Location United States
Cycle Year 2012
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Shelter Health Services
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Michael Sowyak
Phone 704 334-2235
534 Spratt Street
Additional Information
Used for Expand reach of HIV testing capabilities. Deploy clinic RNs to outreach activities. Provide testing to agencies who serve high-risk populations but do not have testing capabilities.
Benefits Every person that knows their status can be better prepared to move forward responsibly. Each individual’s world collectively comprises the entire world. Interrupting the multiplier effect of the spread of HIV can have profound benefits.
Proposal Description Our clients are homeless women and children (0 to 18 years old) living in the county’s largest women’s shelter. Roughly 80% of adult women and 44% of the children we serve do not have Medicaid. Lacking money and Medicaid, without the free clinic their access to healthcare would be virtually nonexistent.

This program addresses the lack of access to healthcare and responds to the need for HIV testing for this highly vulnerable population of homeless women and adolescents. Although other HIV testing resources are available, ease of access, convenience, transportation, scheduling and privacy are barriers to seeking out these resources. The free clinic is embedded within the shelter offering ease of access, walk-in convenience and total privacy. From our experience with the current program we project the following results: 400 women will receive HIV prevention education. 250 will receive the OraQuick test. Five will test positive and be referred to our collaborative partner Regional AIDS Interfaith Network for counseling, medications and primary care. Achievement of these results is a function of being embedded within the population that wants and needs HIV prevention education and testing, and the ease of access to the program’s services.

A grant from NC Community AIDS Fund launched the program one year ago and expires in August 2012. This program builds on the existing HIV Prevention, Testing and Care program, to build more capacity for providing HIV education, testing and care; reaching more people who do not have access to these services; and enabling more new beginnings for clients as a result of their knowing their status (whether HIV positive or negative).

What makes this program distinctly creative is that service components (awareness/prevention education, testing, counseling and care) are proactively delivered directly to the people who need it most and have the least access to it. When homeless people can accelerate addressing and resolving their issues, they are more likely to follow through. Any delays can preempt action, such as referring to the health department or other agency for testing. Whether education, request for testing or responding to positive or negative results, immediate accessibility and intervention is a hallmark of this program.

Another distinct advantage is the collaboration between four agencies. The program’s service components integrate seamlessly into each partner’s area of expertise offering client’s an holistic approach to care. Partners are Shelter Health Services free health clinic as point agency, Salvation Army Center of Hope women’s shelter, SACOT Mecklenburg County Substance Abuse Shelter Program and RAIN (Regional AIDS Interfaith Network).

This grant money will support the clinic’s staff time in delivering bi-weekly prevention education, HIV testing at the education sessions, walk-in testing requests, regular opt-in clinic clients and outreach activities to other agencies who lack testing capabilities.