Ryan White Early Intervention
Getting to an AIDS-free generation -- it starts with knowing your status. The goal of this program is to identify people who are unaware they are HIV+, refer to testing, inform them of their status, and provide linkage to care and support. There is a large percentage of persons infected with HIV but do not know it—we aim to identify them early, before their HIV advances to an AIDS diagnosis. Many people are unaware because they do not have symptoms and have not been tested. Though community outreach efforts, we provide prevention and risk reduction education to at-risk groups and individuals. The message to everyone is that HIV testing should be a routine part of care, and we can provide referrals to free and confidential rapid-result testing. If someone is diagnosed HIV+, we have a specialty service for their linkage to care to ensure that they receive the support they need during this time. We can provide assistance such as accompaniment to doctor’s appointments, as well as assess for a variety of additional potential needs, help determine eligibility for those services and will assist to complete enrollment. There are often a number of services that can meet a person’s needs, which helps ensure they continue their access to care. HIV/AIDS education is key to prevention and treatment, and essential for everyone regardless of HIV status.
Safety Net program
Some of the common “barriers to care” we see on Long Island are housing insecurity or homelessness, food insecurity, lack of transportation, substance abuse, mental health conditions, and difficulties associated with low or fixed-income households. Sometimes the services that are available are limited, or situations are unique and cannot be meet through traditional “public assistance” resources or other sources. This program addresses the “gaps” in the system, such as when applications for benefits are pending and a person has no source of income for basic needs. Safety Net mainly provides food cards, clothing vouchers, transportation vouchers, and packages personal care items. Sometimes this program can provide for additional unique needs, such as requests for mattresses or air conditioners. Safety Net is meant to meet emergency financial needs not covered by other sources, in order that People Living with HIV/AIDS can live well and stay healthy. All applications have a review process to ensure proper use of funds.
AIDS Services ACCESS
This program provides service coordination and benefits advocacy for People Living with HIV/AIDS. While the Safety Net program is meant to meet emergency needs not covered by other sources, the AIDS Services Access program is meant to solve the root of the issue and identify a plan to help meet the person’s ongoing needs. An assessment regarding a variety of needs directs creation of a service plan, which acknowledges various potential issues that may interfere with continued access to care. Examples of actions taken as directed by service plans include facilitated enrollment into benefits through Suffolk County Department of Social Services for Public Assistance, SNAP (food stamps), and/or Medicaid. There are a variety of benefits/programs specifically related to HIV diagnosis, such as “enhanced rental assistance” grants, transportation services, legal services, health care coverage, and mental wellness services. This program provides information and referrals to these various programs and services.
Support Groups for People with HIV
An identified area of an “un met” need has been social support for Long Term Survivors. For this reason, we were able to obtain grant funding specific to address this need. Many people diagnosed in an era in which there was no treatment available experienced trauma related to their diagnosis as well as loss of loved ones. Some people lost many friends and partners and experienced deep loneliness over the years. Our Long Term Survivors group is meant to help foster connections among people diagnosed over 10 years ago, and provide fun group activities so people can relax and enjoy each other’s company. This functions as a “mutual aid” sort of therapeutic approach and addresses a condition referred to as AIDS Survivor Syndrome.
In addition, we are offering general support groups for HIV+ individuals (including those who are newly diagnosed). These groups are facilitated by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. We also hold quarterly client group for feedback regarding the need for and provision of services.
"Beech House" is named after a beautiful beech tree that sits on the property of a house donated to Thursday's Child by a gentleman who passed of AIDS-related complications in 1992. This large property provides independent affordable housing provides 3 apartments for individuals Living with HIV/AIDS and their families. The property and housing program is maintained by Thursday's Child. Residents are long-term, but we will announce if there is an opening. Thursday's Child provides advocacy service for People Living with HIV/AIDS to obtain permanent housing through additional programs and resources, such as referrals to Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS or to help facilitate enrollment into "enhance rental assistance" benefits in order to help low/fixed income individuals Living with HIV obtain permanent independent housing.
Holiday Magic program
Children under the age of 15 in a household affected by HIV/AIDS may write a letter to “Santa”or ”Papa Noel” (or as addressed under any belief or culture) to request a wish list of items. These are not randomly donated toys—these are a child’s actual holiday wishes being fulfilled. This program is coordinated in a way that ensure the confidentially of the family and child. This program serves an average of 350 children per holiday season.