Sex workers, drug addicts, people with families, men, women, and children: this is what some communities consist of and everyone in every community of Chicago is at risk of disease. Reaching out to the community is extremely important in order to increase awareness and to decrease the amount of people who are at risk of contracting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV), and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Organizations within these communities have created programs to help with this mission. The Integrated PASEO program is just such a program that is committed to alleviating the health afflictions of those who engage in sexual activities and those who use drugs. The program helps reduce the spread and risk by providing free testing for HIV, HCV, and STI’s and referrals and provides counseling services to those who are afflicted by substance abuse. Every test administered is one life saved; despite the results being positive or negative, knowing your status is extremely important. For anyone who tests positive, steps can be taken to provide referrals for treatment. For all whose results are negative, it is added security and peace of mind.
by Anthony De Jesús, Integrated Paseo Program, PRCC
Integrated PASEO offers FREE “Seeking Safety” counseling at the Norwegian American Hospital every weekday, Monday through Friday at anytime between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM and at anytime between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, Integrated PASEO offers free testing to individuals for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV), and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). For those who screen positive, a free referral is made for treatment; any individual who screens positive for substance abuse and Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are able to participate in the “Seeking Safety” program. Or stop by the Garfield Park Community Center location on any weekday, Monday through Friday at anytime between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, to receive free HIV and HCV testing and screening, free harm reduction kits, free female and male condoms, and free packages of lubrication.
by Anthony DeJesús, Integrated Paseo, PRCC
Integrated PASEO is housed at Norwegian American Hospital. Every weekday, Monday through Fridayat anytime between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Integrated PASEO offers FREE testing to individuals for HIV, HCV, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s). For those who screen positive, a FREE referral is made for treatment; any individual who screens positive for substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are allowed to participate in the FREE “Seeking Safety” Counseling Program.
Addiction is nothing short of a difficult road to travel. We all know someone who may drink too often, or who use drugs but want to quit. Our past is something that stays with us and some of us want to escape. Some people ‘self-medicate’ and use substances to escape the pain; others find ways to work through their troubles without substances but need help along the way. The “Seeking Safety” Counseling Program was created to help individuals in the face of adversity. It is geared towards helping individuals with co-occurring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and addictions overcome substance abuse and suppress triggers from PTSD. Any individual interested in participating will go through a screening process and, if they qualify, begin the “Seeking Safety” program.
The purpose is to pilot co-location of HIV/STI and hepatitis C screening, testing, and treatment within a behavioral health setting in order to provide seamless prevention, education and care services to the population of focus.
The team creates personalized health plans for each client to insure proper level of care and treatment including specialized service referrals. These needs will be met through culturally relevant interventions, such as the HIV evidence based intervention in Counseling, Testing and Referral (CTR). Integrated PASEO offers free harm reduction kits for drug injected users, the kits includes: a tourniquet, cooker, filters, and single use syringe; also free female and male condoms and free packages of lubrication.
Integrated PASEO provides linkages to care for people that reacted positive for HIV/ STIs and Hepatitis C, through referrals for treatment and follow-up appointments. Any clients that screen positive for substance abuse or required detox services and clients with mental health issues, will be referred for treatment and follow-up.
The program runs a clinic located in the first floor of the Norwegian American Hospital, where clients receive counseling and testing services Monday through Friday between 9am to 5pm. We also have an office at Garfield Center, Community Services Centers for the City of Chicago (10 S. Kedzie Ave., 312-746-5400). We provide services there Monday through Friday with hours of operation from 9am to 12pm. At this second location, clients can have access to services such as: crisis intervention services, veterans services assistance, casework, shelter and housing assistance, job training/placement services, public benefits eligibility assessments, among many other important services.