About AIDS

Safety net for HIV-positive Katrina refugees

As thousands of Katrina's victims arrive in Central Texas, HIV/AIDS service organizations are prepared to see that the needs of HIV-positive evacuees are met. If you know of HIV-positive evacuees, please be sure they know to contact ASA (458-AIDS) so they can be connected with the correct organization or program. Minimal documentation is required, so they shouldn't worry about not having their records. Basic living provisions can be accessed through the Red Cross (at the Convention Center) or by calling 2-1-1, but some needs are HIV-specific.

ASA will assist with case management, including registering for various benefits, counseling and referral, food bank and nutrition needs, and legal issues. ASA's Sansing Dental Clinic will provide oral health care; call 479-6633.

Uninterrupted access to one's meds is critical for HIVers. For those who receive their medications through ADAP, the Texas HIV Medications Program has established a streamlined process for providing folks with their drugs. See www.tdh.state.tx.us/hivstd/meds/NEWS.htm or telephone 800/255-1090.

For non-ADAP meds (through insurance, Medicaid, etc.), Walgreens, CVS, and other major pharmacies can access online records of their sister stores in the affected area and refill the prescription. Pharmacy bulletins say they are making financial arrangements easy.

David Powell Clinic will provide medical care to HIV-positive evacuees; they are asked to first register for medical and social services through Red Cross (at the Convention Center or call 928-4271). To arrange an intake at DPC, call 972-4900, select option 1, identify yourself as a Katrina evacuee, and request to speak to a social worker.

Project Transitions can assist with housing arrangements at their two apartment complexes. The newly rebuilt Doug's House will open soon, too. While it is actually a hospice, space can be found there for individuals who need higher care levels, even though not hospice. Several HIV-positive people also have offered space.

Mental health assistance and counseling are available through CARE (472-4357 or 472-HELP) and Waterloo Counseling Center (444-9922).

Katrina dumped a lot of grief and stress on people already facing the tough challenges of HIV/AIDS. Austin's ASOs are ready to help make their stay as smooth as possible.

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