May #123 : One Hot ASO - by Kellee Terrell

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Table of Contents
One Tough Pirate

Seeing the Future

Mentors-May 2006

Medicine Men

Custom Care

Early Birds

Simply Irresistible

The Topic of Cancer

Sow Your Oats

Trainer’s Bench-May 2006

Hustle and Flow

Animal Attraction

Purrrfect Health

Women on Top

PEP Rally

POZ Personals Catch of the Month-May 2006

First Aid for Your Medicaid

Shall We Dance?

A Will & Grace-full Exit?

Ratings for a Serial Virus

Squeaky Clean?

Prescription For Change

Bono’s Red Alert

One Hot ASO

Banned Aid

It’s Not You; It’s Me

Near Dead Again

Editor's Letter-May 2006

Mailbox-May 2006

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

May 2006

One Hot ASO

by Kellee Terrell

The Caribbean connection makes a splash

The Caribbean has the world’s highest HIV rate outside Africa, and the many HIV positive Caribbeans immigrating to the U.S. must confront a dauntingly unfamiliar health care system. They also face AIDS stigma among their fellow expats, which can discourage testing and treatment. So Brooklyn’s Caribbean Health Care Network (CHN) launched the Caribbean Access Initiative (CAI) in 2003. “We want to get people into the clinic right away,” says Steven Hemraj, CAI’s program director. “We don’t want them to wait until they get sick because they are afraid of getting caught by immigration or of the stigma.” The agency’s services include HIV meds and care, tips for getting additional health care, housing help, child care and free MetroCards to get people to their door.

Like most of the staff at CAI, Hemraj is Caribbean. He fled his native Guyana due to death threats for his politics and rumors about his sexuality and HIV status (he tested positive after arriving in the U.S.). “I would rather have killed myself than go back to Guyana,” he says, adding that he did not find adequate health care in the U.S. until he found the CHN.

CAI is one of four pilot programs for HIV positive Caribbean immigrants in New York funded by the U.S. Department of Health, with a fifth in Miami. Like most states, New York doesn’t punish illegal immigrants seeking care. However, a bill passed by the House of Representatives in December would make providing any aid to an illegal immigrant a criminal offense—undermining CAI’s mission. The bill was being considered by the Senate when POZ went to press. “I am worried about the future of these essential programs,” says Michelle Lopez, treatment administrator for CHN. “We want to go before Congress and show that these essential HIV programs save lives.”    

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