One Step at a Time

Triad Health Project works with over 500 people each year who are living with HIV/AIDS. Client needs vary. Some have just moved to the area and need assistance in connecting with an infectious disease specialist. Others are in treatment and facing barriers such as substance abuse, housing instability, or food insecurity. Sometimes it’s all of these issues and more. THP Case Managers and support services can truly make the difference between a person staying in treatment for HIV or giving up because of being overwhelmed by personal challenges, or even the HIV diagnosis itself.

Our case manager Adrienne began working with a client, “Tina,” in 2016. Tina had been diagnosed with HIV in 2014 and had recently relocated to High Point. Tina entered her first year of Medical Case Management with Adrienne with an unsuppressed HIV viral load, not on any recommended HIV anti-retroviral treatment (ART) regimen, and suffering from severe PTSD following a workplace act of violence. Being new to the community, Tina had no social support network and was experiencing intense isolation. Over the course of that first year in Medical Case Management, Tina and Adrienne utilized specifically tailored Care Plan Goals to help Tina stabilize her health and her overall well-being, the main goals being that she regularly attend her medical and mental health appointments, start and maintain adherence to her ART regimen, and expand her social support network.

Tina recently entered her second year of Medical Case Management and is proud to say she is now virally suppressed and has remained so for over 9 months. In fact, during her reassessment, when discussing her treatment adherence with Adrienne, Tina scoffed at the idea of ever missing her medication. Initially upon beginning her regimen, Tina had struggled considerably with adherence and regularly missed days of her medicine due to, “not wanting to think I had this thing.” She remembers feeling that, “I couldn’t believe this had happened to me and I didn’t want to admit it to myself by taking my meds.” A powerful force for Tina in beginning to accept and take charge of her HIV diagnosis was regularly attending a bi-monthly High Point Women’s Support group at THP’s High Point location, where she was able to express her dismay and sadness about her diagnosis and receive support from her peers who encouraged her to become compliant. Tina also began using the health tracking journal that Adrienne provided to her, helping help her remember her multiple healthcare appointments, as well as monitor her HIV lab work.

Success for clients like Tina comes one step and one day at time. Success in ending HIV in Guilford County hinges on the cumulative effect of these small victories, one person at time, suppressing viral loads individually to achieve better health and a safer environment for the whole community.