101 Aupuni St., PH 1014C
Hilo, HI 96720
The Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting those affected by HIV/AIDS to maximize their quality of life, and to ending the spread of HIV. We also utilize the lessons learned in the HIV epidemic to care and advocate for others in the fight against related diseases.
Case Management & Prevention Services for HIV+ Women Program Goal
Increase the health stability of HIV+ women and prevent the transmission of HIV by these women to their partners. With stable health, finances, housing, etc. our female clients avoid the health crises that come with a catastrophic and life threatening disease and thereby extend their lives. Additionally, their self-esteem and need for companionship can be safely acquired without the possibility of transmission of this disease.
A woman came into our program whose husband died unexpectedly. It was determined at the time of his death that he was HIV+ and was infected with Hepatitis C. As a result of that diagnosis, she was tested for both diseases and found to also be HIV+ and infected with Hepatitis C. She was devastated not only by the death of her husband of 15 years but also that she was infected with these deadly diseases. She and her husband had been homeless at the time of his death, and had been for 3 years.
One of our first actions was to devise a care plan which would encompass all areas of her life. She was immediately connected with an HIV and Hepatitis medical specialist. Her health was extremely precarious. She began a medication regime for her HIV and over the next 8-10 months her HIV was brought under control. While there is no cure for HIV, health stability can be maintained with a comprehensive medication regime. She was not able to have treatment for the Hepatitis until she was living in a stable situation due to the complexity of the dosing.
The next steps included finding and qualifying her for stable, inexpensive housing and Social Security disability. The care team was aggressive in both these areas and she is now on Social Security disability and has been in stable housing for the past 8 months. Her health continues to improve and she will be able to begin Hepatitis C treatment within the next few months.
In addition to the above, she has substantial mental health issues and we have arranged regular appointments for her with a qualified psychologist who is experienced in dealing with the psychological fall out of living with HIV.
On the prevention side, she had been choosing inappropriate partners and having unprotected sex. Very shortly after joining our program, and with the help of her therapist, she was able to learn to live alone, not participate in risky behavior, and make better relationship choices. At the present time, she does not have a partner and expresses her feelings of increased self-esteem and that she can “make it on her own” and that “she doesn’t need some man to take care of her”. All of this is great progress and shows just how much a comprehensive program like ours can change the life of an individual and benefit the community as a whole.