At Perry Wellness Center, the focus upon total health includes physical health issues. One such example is HIV, which is more prevalent with certain populations, including those who use IV drugs. Because many of the center’s clients are in recovery from substance abuse, and because HIV continues to be a problem in South Georgia, regular education and screening are provided.
Nancy Collins, the HIV Prevention Nurse with Middle Flint Behavioral HealthCare, frequently offers such services to the peers enrolled at Perry Wellness Center. This week, she visited the center to provide current health information to peers. Perry Wellness Center staff member Chelsea Hodges arranged this visit.
In a morning group setting, Nurse Nancy presented a new DVD produced by David Bromstad, a celebrity interior designer who is often featured on HGTV. In his video presentation, Bromstad began by saying, “In recent years, the news about HIV and AIDS has been mostly encouraging in the United States. The number of people getting infected with HIV is not rising, and the death rate from AIDS has dropped.”
He continued, “Still, HIV remains something everyone should think about. Thousands of people still become infected with HIV each year. And many of these people don’t know they are infected. Why? Because they don’t feel sick, or they have never been tested for HIV. But this means they could pass the disease to someone else without knowing it. This booklet and DVD program explain the basics of HIV and the importance of HIV testing. By watching this DVD, you will learn the difference between HIV and AIDS, how you can get tested for HIV, and why getting tested can protect you and the ones you love.”
The informative DVD was viewed by the group, along with an accompanying booklet. The latter can be used for later reference during group sessions, to refresh peers’ knowledge and update new group members.
After sharing the DVD and leading open discussion with attendees, Nurse Nancy reminded all that HIV is both preventable and treatable, but it is not yet curable. (As always, the proverbial ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.) She also left reminder posters about an upcoming HIV testing session scheduled at Perry Wellness Center on May 27.
In the United States today, 56,000 people still become infected with the HIV virus annually. With education provided by professionals like Nancy Collins and organizations such as Perry Wellness Center and Middle Flint Behavioral HealthCare, that number can only decrease over time.