"When Ruthie told me I had HIV last year I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” said Derrick Brister. “I never imagined I would have HIV, but she was right there to help me out.”
When people first learn they have HIV they often share the same reaction as Derrick. Newly diagnosed patients face serious health issues and have fear about their future. New patients also need immediate access to health care and social services to make sure they have the best chance for long-term survival.
"If I work hard, and with the help of ARCW, I now know I can have a long healthy life.”
"Before coming to ARCW I had bad experiences with my health care providers. They were often cold and distant,” says Richard Gerlich who has been living with HIV since 1996. “When I came to ARCW my CD 4 count was 22 and my viral load was more than 750,000 - I was really sick and needed all sorts of help.”
The ARCW Medical Center is unique in offering expert medical and dental care as well as nutritious food. It is part of the ARCW medical home system that provides Richard an outstanding opportunity for successful treatment and a long and healthy life.
"I have an undetectable viral load now and am the healthiest I have been. I have a great smile because of all the care I get at the ARCW Medical Center.”
"I was at a low point in my life when I was diagnosed with HIV twelve years ago. I was depressed and using drugs,” ARCW patient Candy McKee said. “But, I really wanted to be a part of the lives of my children and grandchildren, but I was worried it might be too late.”
Integrated medical and mental health services at the ARCW Medical Center are at the very heart of the HIV Medical Home health care system at ARCW. A mental health professional is in the ARCW Medical Center at all times to assist patients to overcome mental health issues.
"Today, I am at an undetectable viral load. I am sober and every Wednesday I come to my women’s support group at ARCW. Best of all, I get to be a big part of my children and grandchildren’s lives.”
"I always thought that HIV would be my biggest worry,” said Melody Rose. “Thankfully ARCW has treated my HIV well, and has helped me fight all of the other challenges of living with HIV.”
In 2003 when Melody was diagnosed with HIV she did not have insurance, a physician or even a safe place to live. ARCW reached out to her with a team of case managers, medical providers, and a housing specialist. “Everyone at ARCW pitched in to help me,” said Melody.
"My team at ARCW is helping me set goals that will support me in achieving an undetectable viral load. I’m even getting ready to go back to school. Most importantly, though, I know that I can rely on ARCW whenever I need to.”
Before James Kelley started coming to ARCW he would drive more than 70 miles round trip to see his health care providers and get his medications.
"I wanted the best health care, even though I don’t have private insurance,” James said. “I thought I had to drive a long way to get it.”
Like many HIV patients at ARCW, James has faced other complex health care problems that have diminished his health. He has had pneumonia, glaucoma and hypertension in addition to living with HIV. The close proximity and integrated health care delivery model of the ARCW Medical Center ensures that these complex problems are identified accurately and treated quickly.
"Since I started coming to ARCW my health has never been better. Because of ARCW I have an undetectable viral load and my blood pressure is under control.”
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