I remember hearing the term GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) like many people I didn’t know what it meant. Only that it was taking the lives of many gay men throughout the United States. When I ventured to my first gay bar (Bourbon Pub & Parade) like many there was little medical information and no federal funding; it was a death sentence. Therefore, I understood the importance of protecting myself and to believe that most men might or could have this disease. I don’t recall when I first heard the term HIV/AIDS, but I remember that it replaced the term GRID. My Uncle Peter (family friend) also told me “protect yourself at all time, nobody else will”; I have just always remember that quote from him.
NO/AIDS Task Force for as long as I can remember has always been around, the first in New Orleans to establish a telephone hotline/ community outreach (1983), distribution of condoms/ HIV testing and counseling (1985), case management, support groups, substance abuse/ mental health counseling (1990); just to name a few of the many services that they provide. This agency has been in the forefront of HIV/AIDS testing, prevention and services. It is their belief that it is important to reach as many people in the New Orleans community as possible. Considering the New Orleans metro area and Baton Rouge has the highest HIV/AIDS rates per capita in the United States according to the CDC (HIV Surveillance Report, Volume 27), New Orleans Metro Area ranked 2nd, and Baton Rouge Ranked 3rd.
When you think about the high levels of HIV/AIDS just in the New Orleans area you can see why agencies like NO/AIDS spends an enormous about of time and resources helping those in the community. However, there are several roadblocks that prevent them from reaching more within the community; lack of education, social stigmas, cultural differences, and inadequate/unstable funding sources. NO/AIDS relies on the generous support of the community, and corporate donations, and hold several events throughout the year to not only raise money, but awareness. Now for many it was assumed that NO/AIDS was either taken over or merged with CrescentCare of New Orleans, but in fact it has always been a part of the NO/AIDS Task Force; NO/AIDS simply changed their name to CrescentCare.
CrescentCare provides medical assistance to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. Their services are vast; from primary medical services, dental care and even behavioral health.
Because of CrescentCare they now have access to more federal grants and funding. Which is a huge help in the fight against HIV/AIDS and STI’s. According to their website they also provide HIV and STI testing, PrEp, case management and support services (food pantry, home delivered meals, housing, legal services and much more). Currently they serve more than 5,000 people each year and 30,000 with HIV and STI prevention education.
It’s hard to believe that the NO/AIDS Task Force has been providing needed services for more than 33 years, it is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical services in Louisiana and the South. Their commitment to the community is unwavering, and as the health care of the community changes so does their mission. As we wait and watch to see what happens with the ACA (Affordable Care Act), many people are concerned with how they will receive medical services or medications; CrescentCare is dedicated to be there for the community regardless of what happens to the ACA, and is aware of the high anxiety in the community about the possible repeal of the ACA. Augustin Correro of CrescentCare said it best “it’s been a long road, and we still have much work to do within and for the community”.
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"HIV Surveillance Report, Vol. 27. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 03 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Nail, Rachel. "The History of HIV and AIDS in the United States." Healthline. N.p., 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.
"NO/AIDS Task Force." NOAIDS Task Force. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Thwe, Min. "HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention in Myanmar." AIDS Education and Prevention 16.Supplement_a (2010): 170-77. Web.