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During our outreach events, our outreach team provides testing,
education resources, and treatment management for STIs.
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MASS Provides Early Intervention Services
Our Minority AIDS Initiative Funding (MAI EIS) activities include HIV/STD Education, HIV Testing, Counseling and Referrals, and Outreach Services incorporating the Social Network Strategy Model for several service areas in the Norfolk Transitional Grant Area (TGA). These areas account for at least 10% of the TGA’s reported cases of HIV/AIDS.
The geographical locations include: Norfolk, Newport News, and surrounding rural counties. The Hampton Roads Regional Jail (HRRJ), Norfolk State University, the MASS agency in Newport News and several churches are included in our targeted areas.
Work With Local Correction Facilities
The HRRJ was selected because it houses many inmates high-risk for HIV/AIDS who are not receiving HIV prevention services and are often lost to care. We provide testing to individuals who are unaware of their HIV status and, when necessary, link them to HIV primary medical care.
The following services are provided by MASS staff in the jail: pre-release medical case management including MAI EIS that include HIV/STD Education Classes, HIV Testing, Counseling and Referrals and links to care. MASS staff conducts evidence–based interventions from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Taxonomy of Prevention Interventions (HIV/STD 101 Class), and HIV Testing using the Insti Rapid Test for all participants in the classes and for all inmates who voluntarily request HIV testing.
The HIV/STD classes are conducted by the MASS HIV educator on basic information about HIV, HIV transmission, risk behaviors associated with contracting HIV, interventions for prevention and risk reduction, HIV testing, symptoms of HIV and AIDS and appropriate responses to HIV/AIDS in communities and organizations. Other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) including hepatitis will also be included in the sessions.
The HIV educator is responsible for coordinating the schedule for the date and time for classes with the Program Director in the correctional facility. Recruitment efforts include placing flyers in each housing unit for the inmates to see with self- referrals by interested inmates as approved by the jail staff. HIV/STD educational material and literature will be distributed to the inmates as allowed by the facility. The classes will be open for both male and female inmates.
At the completion of the classes the inmates will receive information about the Insti Rapid Test and the meaning of the test results. A confidential area is provided by the jail to perform HIV Testing. The HIV Educator/Tester will obtain a signed consent from the inmate. They will be informed that the test is being done to detect the presence of HIV antibodies and that the test takes 20 minutes to complete. During this waiting period, the HIV Educator/Tester will complete the required paperwork, assess risk factors, discuss HIV/AIDS facts, and distribute HIV Test facts.
If the inmate’s result is positive, the HIV educator/tester will administer an oral confirmatory test. A positive confirmatory test will be sent to the Heritage Lab or a designated Lab for final test results. The medical department in the jail will be notified of the preliminary positive result for follow- up with the local health department. MASS case managers will work with the medical staff for HIV positive inmates to receive a referral to allow these inmates entry into our HIV care system.
The T1M Campaign
In order to intensify our MAI EIS activities to prevent HIV infection, MASS has partnered with the Black AIDS Institute to participate in the Test 1 Million (T1M) campaign. T1M is the Black AIDS Institute’s signature mobilization campaign, in partnership with leading Black organizations and institutions. It builds upon the National Black AIDS Mobilization: a call to action to engage all Black Americans, from individuals to institutions, in a community-wide effort to end the AIDS epidemic. The T1M movement is one of awareness, personal responsibility and collective action.
As part of this important movement, MASS will incorporate EIS activities of HIV Testing, Counseling and Referral for students at Norfolk State University. Clients who walk-in to the HHSS agency can request HIV testing as a result of the Social Network model that is in our outreach program. These locations allow us to provide HIV testing to our targeted audience, which includes Black males and females, men who have sex with men and the emerging population with emphasis on the ages 13-29.
Providing Local Testing
MASS also follows the T1M protocol to provide HIV testing in the MASS agency for walk-ins or clients referred by the Outreach Specialist. The Outreach Specialist will help clients engage or re-engage with HIV primary care and case management.
The recruiter (the HIV-positive person) and the network associate (the high-risk referred person) both will be given incentives for their participation in the referral process. Both individuals will be ask to recruit as many friends and associates that they feel are high-risk or at risk for HIV/AIDS. If the network associate has a negative test result, he/she will receive HIV education and counseling on risk reduction and is given HIV literature, condoms, and HIV testing facts. An incentive gift of a bus pass or gift card, food coupon, etc. will be given to both the recruiter and associate. If the test is positive, MASS will follow-up with the confirmatory testing, refer the client to the local health department and timely refer him/her to medical care and support services within the TGA.
The Outreach Specialist helps clients overcome the barriers that prevent them from accessing care on a regular basis, provide emotional support and help them remain in care.
MASS continues to establish and maintain link agreements with key points of entry into the HIV Care System. MASS has an experienced professional staff to provide administrative and direct care services for EIS and the targeted population. All of our staff members have the proper education, certifications, licensure, and training, appropriate to their job descriptions and responsibilities.