Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum was in Eugene Thursday to learn about life-saving services available through HIV Alliance. She toured the facility and met privately with a client who told her how an overdose reversal drug recently saved a friend.
Rosenblum’s office is responsible for a legal settlement with a drug company that resulted in grants to fund the Naloxone Distribution Project. Naloxone can stop a person from dying of an opioid overdose.
The Attorney General’s tour started in the HIV Alliance mobile unit. Before they acquired the van, staff would set up card tables on street corners with condoms, clean syringes, toothpaste, even dog food for pets. Today, outreach workers are able to travel to where they are most needed. Last year, HIV Alliance destroyed over 600,000 dirty needles.
Chelsea Swift is the Syringe Exchange Coordinator. She stands beside an upper body dummy and demonstrates how to deal with an opioid overdose. Swift says sometimes, assistance with breathing could be enough. When it’s not—a shot of Naloxone can be a live saver.
Swift: “The fact that a lot of our clients are not aware that the Good Samaritan Law exists and that they are protected from calling 911 when their friend or their acquaintance is potentially dying has been a really meaningful conversation to facilitate.
Swift told Rosenblum the day she found out they got Naloxone funding was the best day in her job. The Attorney General responded.
Rosenblum: “We travel around the state and we try to address public health issues that relate to the legal system and we will continue to do that. So let us know where there are other programs that you would suggest as well.”
Listen to the KLCC radio http://klcc.org/post/rosenblum-lauds-hiv-alliance-services-eugene
Credit: Tiffany Eckert
Eugene, OR – In response to a recent spike in HIV cases as well as other STIs, Lane County Public Health has reached out to local agencies, HIV Alliance and PeaceHealth, in order to provide additional HIV and STI prevention options for Lane County residents.
“We are fortunate to be able to have the partners we do here in Lane County,” said Lane County Chief Health Officer, Dr. Patrick Luedtke. “Being able to utilize the expertise of local agencies like HIV Alliance and PeaceHealth to assess the situation and respond with strategies that they know to be effective in our region is a huge asset.”
Lane County has seen eight new HIV infections since November, increasing the preliminary total to 19 new infections in 2016. In addition to new HIV infections, data between January and November 2016 shows a jump in Gonorrhea, from 164 infections in 2015 to 246 in 2016. Lane County saw 51 new syphilis infections, after seeing 52 in 2015 and 35 in 2014. Lane County Public Health, HIV Alliance and PeaceHealth partnered in late 2016 when responding to an HIV cluster in the Florence region. The agencies successfully identified 7 new infections and connected all newly diagnosed individuals to treatment.
“The best way to track these HIV clusters and prevent new STIs is to get people tested” says Renee Yandel, HIV Alliance Executive Director. “The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone ages 15-64 get tested for HIV and so we are encouraging everyone to get tested.”
Testing is the most effective strategy for preventing HIV because it identifies new infections and connects any newly diagnosed individuals to treatment plans. Once connected to treatment, people can lower their viral loads to a point where they are significantly less likely to spread to the disease.
HIV Alliance will be providing HIV testing on Mondays from 3 to 5pm for a $25 suggested donation. In addition, HIV Alliance provides free testing to men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and partners of people living with HIV from 5 to 7pm on Monday and Tuesday, 6 to 8pm on Thursday, and 1 to 5 pm on Fridays. The Alliance is currently partnering with PeaceHealth to provide free HIV and hepatitis C testing, counseling and referral services every first and third Friday in Florence, OR, from 12 to 6pm at Building 310 on 400 Ninth Street, Florence, OR 97439. The agency provides STI testing to OHP members on Friday from 1 to 3pm.
“People have options,” says HIV Alliance Prevention Manager, Tyler Boyet, “We now have medical prevention options, such as PrEP and PEP, and are scheduling appointments to get people enrolled.” PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a medication prescribed to people who are at a higher risk for HIV that can prevent the transmission of HIV even if the person comes into contact with the virus.
Over the course of February, we partnered with KVAL on a mini-series called “I have HIV and…” The series is made up of five short videos, each focusing on the respective stories of people living with HIV in Oregon. Told through their personal stories, the interviews touch on a lot of issues surrounding HIV transmission, including drug addiction, syringe exchanges, LGBTQ equality, serodiscordant relationships (couples with different HIV statuses), and stigma.
What became obvious over the course of the videos is that there is much more to someone then their HIV status, and that their diagnosis does not define who they are. You can find links to each video below
The piece below was distributed to media outlets as a response to Indiana’s announcement of a public health emergency in March, 2015
Eugene, OR—April 2, 2015: On Thursday, March, 26, sources reported that Indiana’s Scott County, population 24, 181, had hit an epidemic surge in HIV diagnoses: 80 new cases since December, or almost one case per day. Indiana Governor Mike Pence has said that 100 percent of these new cases could be traced to injection drug use. When comparing this information to Lane County’s three new HIV infections in all of 2014, and the fact that Lane’s population is almost 15 times that of Scott County, the question remains: why is the incidence of HIV skyrocketing in small, rural Scott County, Indiana and not in Lane County, Oregon—an area with high rates of injection drug use that sits directly on a major drug trafficking interstate?
You can read the response in its entirety here
In their April, 2015 Newsletter, Oregon Health Authority featured HIV Alliance and its clinical pharmacist, Geoff L’Hereux in its “Transformation Station” section. The article acknowledges the wonderful work being done by L’Hereux and HIV Alliance as they work with CCOs to provide clients with better medicine at affordable rates. These medicstions do end up being more costly up front, but overall they save CCOs and clients money down the road because they involve less pills, are easier to tolerate, and minimize side effects as well as provider visits.
To read the full newsletter in its entirety, you can click here
On September 5th, HIV Alliance’s new Executive Director, Renee Yandel, was invited as a guest to the local podcast, Nonprofit Eugene, for a conversation on the organization’s history, mission, and services to the community. The conversation features a wide range of topics, including advances in HIV medication and testing, current topics of debate, and a heartfelt reflection on HIV-related stigma then and now.
You can find an online stream of the conversation at Nonprofit Eugene’s website here.
Written by Joelle Rankins Goodwin for the Register Guard on World AIDS Day (December 1, 2014)
I have a picture of my brother Scott and me. We are standing together posing for the camera, and he is hugging me with his arm around my head because that is how he always hugged me. Scott was a handsome, strong and wise man with a wonderful sense of humor. My brother would have been 55 years old this year, but in 2000 he died from AIDS.
When we were growing up, it was clear that he had a brilliant artistic mind. He loved fashion and, after high school, he moved to New York City to study at Parsons School for Design. While he was in New York, he received Fulbright and Lusk Foundation grants to study fashion design at the Domus Academy in Milan in the heart of the fashion industry. While there, he was “discovered” by the great designer Diego de la Valle….
read the rest of Joelle’s piece here: Complacency won’t bring a cure to HIV/AIDS
Written by Mark Baker in the Register Guard on World AIDS Day – December 1, 2014
“It defies all odds,” he says of his survival thus far. “I’m well aware of that. It does not escape my thoughts. And I’m grateful.”
“I think a lot of it is attitude and a relatively healthy lifestyle,” says [Reitz], whose face is clearly worn – what he calls “the look” that AIDS patients get – by the ravages of the disease.
“It gives me something to do, and it’s a way to keep the mind focused on something else,” he says. “It’s good. It’s like you’ve accomplished something.”
You can enjoy the article in its entirety be clicking here
In February, HIV Alliance received a letter from Cynthia Rider, Executive Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, awarding the agency $20,000 for its “vitally important work.” The Daedalus Project of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has been empowering people living with HIV/AIDS for 28 years. The funding will provide critical support to HIV Alliance’s HIV and Hepatitis C prevention programs in southern Oregon.
To read this release in full, you can click here
Copyright 2015 HIV Alliance.
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