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December 03, 2014

A day at The Damien Center

Picture a day with us. Our lobby is packed. Both client computers are in use for job searches. A young woman is requesting an emergency appointment with housing, since her job ended unexpectedly. A gentleman has re-entered care and our staff is walking him through available services.

A woman has visited the food pantry and now waits for her appointment in the medical clinic. One patient is learning about health insurance options while the partner of an individual living with HIV is learning about preventive medications. The testing center is busy, helping clients learn their status and explore different prevention methods.

Then, an HIV+ patient, Michelle*, steps out of her care specialist's office, a mix of relief and pride on her face. In 2013, she re-entered care after having dropped out of care years before. Her viral load was dangerously high - over one million. Don't know much about HIV viral loads? The number represents the amount of HIV in the body, and Michelle was in risky territory.

Our intense personalized plan to support Michelle included daily phone calls to be sure she stuck to her strict medical regimen and weekly home visits. We walked alongside her, helping her eliminate the barriers to care that she was contending with.

That's how our approach works - every patient works with our staff to develop an individualized care plan that provides the specific support they need to get their health back on track. The end goal? To empower patients to get in care and stay in care.

It's been six months, and Michelle has just learned that she has achieved an undetectable viral load. The most amazing thing about Michelle's story? It's not unusual for our patients. The most effective way to prevent new HIV infections is to identify every individual living with HIV and provide them with the support they need to achieve undetectable viral loads. Our staff has helped Linkage to Care patients achieve an average viral load reduction of 93% within their first year in the program precisely through stories just like this one.

Our comprehensive approach changes lives, and remarkable outcomes like this are our norm. On our website, you can explore more about what we do to empower our patients as well as help us restore health to our patients and eliminate the threat of HIV for future generations. Help us make more incredible stories like Michelle's possible in 2015!

*Client's name has been changed.