Viviann Schorle, Program Director, Project HOPE (HIV/AIDS Outreach Prevention and Education) at Montgomery County Family Services and Robb Reichard, Executive Director, AIDS Fund, discussed the current campaign, ‘U=U Undetectable = Untransmittable.’ Through knowing your status and receiving treatment, a person with HIV can not only test for no detectable virus, but also be unable to transmit it to a partner. We also spoke about current numbers for transmission, young people are particularly vulnerable, Robb suggesting it’s youth, not lack of knowledge, causing this.
AIDS Fund, provides direct assistance to HIV/AIDS clients at twelve local service providers, including Project HOPE. Its work compliments the medical and other services to allow the best result in care.
Project HOPE, Montgomery County’s only comprehensive HIV/AIDS services program, works those living with those living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk for HIV/AIDS by providing medical case management, HIV antibody testing, prevention education, and outreach in English and Spanish. The free, confidential service link clients with the proper nutrition, dental care, transportation, public benefits, and counseling as appropriate.
Project Hope’s ‘Healthy Relationships Intervention’ program envisions individuals living with HIV/AIDS can enjoying productive, active lives; including relationships.
While the test is widely available and quick with results in minutes, they discussed the misconceptions as to who is at risk – the answer: EVERYONE. They noted that those at risk have to speak up and ask for PREP, a daily low dose treatment can suppress the virus, virtually reducing the chance of contracting the disease. Yet, many young people are unaware of it or dependent on family insurance to receive it. They also discussed the need for better education within the medical field in educating patients and offering the appropriate care. We spoke about the stigma that still remains and the need for more conversation to expand the message, get tested, if you are at risk ask for PREP, if you have been exposed, seek treatment.
We talked about the annual AIDS Walk Philly, ‘Be a Lifeline’ coming Sunday, October 20. This is the major fundraiser for t he year and it provides emergency relief for those living with HIV/AIDS. Register at AIDSWALKPHILLY.COM
On September 18, both will appear at the Montgomery County Courthouse with a program commemorating National Aging with HIV month, they noted that 45% of those with HIV are over the age if 50.
For more information on AIDS Fund or to locate a testing site near you, call 215-981-AIDS or go to AIDSFUNDPHILLY.ORG
For information about Project HOPE go to FSMONTCO.ORG.