Counseling, testing, and education are key
As World AIDS Day approaches, we’re shining a spotlight on a few of the professionals at PERSAD CENTER who provide HIV and AIDS related services to the community. PERSAD has been responding to the crisis since the early 1980’s, and today we offer a wide range of services: counseling and emotional support; testing and prevention; education and wellness strategies; and therapy groups where sharing is part of the healing process. All of PERSAD’S therapists are skilled at working with individuals living with HIV, and here we introduce you to three members of our team.
Allen Brown is PERSAD’S testing and prevention specialist. He is dedicated to raising awareness about risky sexual behaviors, and helping people understand how substance abuse can impair good judgment. “I want to help people recognize all of the things they can do to protect themselves, especially young people. If I can help someone set small personal goals that will guide their behavior and keep them safe, they can quickly learn how to build on that success”, says Brown. While getting an HIV test and learning your results can be stressful, pre- and post-test counseling helps clients face the future regardless of the results. “Having the facts allows you to make the best decisions about your health and safety”, Brown says.
Allen conducts free HIV testing at PERSAD CENTER each Tuesday from noon - 5:00 p.m.
fAe gibson is PERSAD’S HIV treatment adherence specialist and one of our newest team members. An experienced massage therapist and Qigong facilitator, he brings an understanding of how complimentary health techniques can benefit HIV+ people. “Adhering to your medical doctor’s advice and medication regimen is essential. But I also like to help people recognize other wellness strategies they can practice in their daily lives. What kind of fuel are you putting in your body? I work with clients to explore how nutrition and stress reduction can be utilized for healing and maintaining wellness”, says gibson.
Nancy Hammond is a licensed professional counselor who has worked at PERSAD for 6 years. Like all of the therapists at PERSAD, she provides individual counseling to clients. But it’s in the group therapy sessions she facilitates where she sees how sharing is part of the healing process. “The HIV Support Group is for any HIV+ person. It’s a forum that helps create social support and an opportunity to discuss a range of issues about managing a healthy life with HIV. We also offer a Long-Term Survivors Group that addresses issues of sexuality, relationships, and disclosure, as well as self care and stress management. While we work to prevent new infections, we are committed to assuring that individuals with HIV live long, healthy lives", says Hammond.
After decades of service, PERSAD CENTER remains vigilant in our efforts to serve the HIV/AIDS communities with compassion. If you or someone you know could benefit from any of our HIV/AIDS services, please call our office at 1-888-873-to7723 to learn more or schedule an appointment.