Reaching out to people at highest risk for HIV is never easy.
From the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in Milwaukee, STD Specialties has always embraced the tough work of HIV prevention. Its staff and volunteers have courageously visited drug houses, correctional settings and homeless shelters to provide life saving HIV prevention messages and testing.
Executive Director Casey Reilly is proud that STD Specialties has achieved one of the highest rates of reaching and identifying HIV positive individuals in Wisconsin.
"The biggest challenge for us is reaching populations most at risk, because they donít believe they are. Their lack of knowledge on AIDS and their isolation are barriers to providing prevention services that we overcome. It helps that people feel comfortable with us."
STD Specialties also achieves the equally important task of making sure that individuals who test positive for HIV get access to the health care they need. Through its collaboration with a comprehensive network of health care providers, STD Specialties has always been successful in securing enrollment of its clients in care and treatment.
With a unique and vital role in AIDS prevention, Reilly sees STD Specialties continuing to meet its mission in the years ahead.
"HIV testing is easier now. The new rapid tests have definitely made a difference. They help us achieve our goal that everyone at risk know their HIV status."
Photos and Text courtesy AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, copyright 2005.
Last updated: 15-May-2005.