The Coastal Health District HIV Prevention Program will offer two free HIV testing events on Saturday, December 1 in observance of World AIDS Day. Both events will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at these locations:
Testing is completely confidential and results will be available in one minute. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals. The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Know Your Status.”
December 1 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Launched in 1988, the annual observance highlights worldwide efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day is also an occasion to show support for those living with HIV and to remember those who have died from the infection.
Georgia leads the United States in HIV rates for adults and adolescents according to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Coastal Health District HIV/AIDS program currently serves 1,398 clients living with HIV/AIDS throughout the eight-county district. As a reminder, HIV testing is free at all health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties and available Monday through Friday during regular health department hours of operation.
Anyone with questions about testing can call Diane DeVore at (912) 644-5828 or e-mail Diane.Devore@dph.ga.gov.
The Coastal Health District’s HIV Program provides comprehensive outpatient primary care (including nutritional services and oral health) and case management to persons with HIV/AIDS. Every county health department provides free, walk-in HIV testing, and the Coastal Health District has three HIV Program centers for expanded services.
Clients benefit from a wide spectrum of programs and services, including primary medical care and labs, centralized case management, oral health services, ID consultant services, radiology (by referral), retinology consultant services, medication dispensing/pharmacy, mental health counseling, nutritional assessment/counseling -BIA testing, partner counseling and referral services, legal assistance, and transportation assistance (contract).
The Coastal Health District’s HIV Clinic treats any HIV positive client over age 12, including those who have a CDC-defined AIDS diagnosis. Supportive services for clients such as hospice care, emergency financial assistance, food and food vouchers, housing assistance, support groups, etc. are available by referral with various community providers/partners.
Enrollment into the HIV Program requires an advance appointment. Providers are asked to schedule intake appointments as far in advance as possible and to provide medical records when available. Clients are assessed by the case manager and then are scheduled for primary care intake. Clients should bring the following when possible:
1. Medical history, i.e. medical records with detailed history of medications
2. Proof of seropositivity (required, test drawn at intake if unavailable)
3. Current CD4 count and viral load (preferred, not required)
4. Current PPD status and treatment history (preferred, not required)
5. Proof of income (mandatory for services) Paycheck stubs, SSI letters, etc. If no income, be prepared to provide statement as to how living expenses being met, i.e. family support, etc. and the intake case manager can do a notarized affidavit of poverty.
6. Proof of residency (paycheck stubs, SSI letters, utility bills)
7. Identification (driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card, prison ID)
Clinic provides comprehensive medical care for chronic medical problems in addition to HIV. Subspecialty care is arranged by referral if needed. Eligible clients are enrolled in ADAP for HIV medications as indicated.
Care is provided on a sliding fee scale based on household income. No one is denied services due to an inability to pay. Medicaid and Medicare and some private insurances are accepted.
Centralized case management is provided in the program. The case manager will complete the initial psychosocial assessment upon referral to the program and schedule the primary care intake appointment. Clients are assigned to a case manager who is knowledgeable about all of the HIV services available in the community and the referral process for each.
HIV Testing Sites:
HIV testing is available at your county health department in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden Counties, and in the cities of Pembroke, Richmond Hill, Savannah, Springfield, Hinesville, Ludowici, Darien, Brunswick and St. Mary’s.
In Savannah, testing is also available at these locations:
– Curtis V. Cooper Primary Care Center
2 Roberts St., Savannah, 912-527-1100
106 E. Broad St., Savannah, 912-527-1000
– Savannah State University
Counseling Center, Savannah, 912-358-23129
– Phoenix Project of Union Mission
520 E. 34th St., Savannah, 912-231-1971
– J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center
120 Fahm St., Savannah, 912-927-5271
Coastal Health District HIV Program Sites:
107 B Fahm St., Savannah, GA 31401
2747 4th St., Brunswick, GA 31520
1113 East Oglethorpe Highway, Hinesville, GA 31313
The Georgia Department of Public Health has a HIV/STD Infoline that offers risk assessments and risk reduction counseling as well as information about testing, treatment, care and related services. The toll-free number is (800) 551-2728.
The CDC’s “One Conversation at a Time” is focused on bringing HIV/AIDS awareness to the Hispanic/Latino community which accounts for 21 percent of new HIV infections. Visit the campaign website in English and Spanish for facts and conversation starters to help families, friends, and communities start and continue conversations about HIV.
“We Are Family” is a new campaign from Greater Than AIDS and the Georgia Department of Public Health to reinforce the importance of social support for people living with HIV. Produced as part of the Georgia Greater Than AIDS (Georgia>AIDS) public information partnership, the multi-platform media and community outreach campaign profiles families from across the state who have a loved one living with HIV. For more information on the We Are Family campaign, go to georgia.greaterthan.org.
Check out this short video and companion guide from PublicHealth.org on where we stand in the global fight against HIV/AIDS: http://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/hiv-aids/
What is the national HIV/AIDS strategy? Get more information HERE.
The HIV/AIDS Atlas is an online tool giving the public better access to HIV/AIDS data. Via this website, you can look at HIV/AIDS prevalence in the community (county) in which you live. Access the HIV/AIDS Atlas at http://www.maphiv.org/.