1K Campaign!

The 1K Campaign!

The 1K Campaign!

1k-Campaign

NAESM has accepted the challenge, will you?

 

Atlanta, Georgia, May 17, 2016 – Over the past few months, we have heard many statistics that have generated several immediate calls to action. These statistics have continued to show the importance of how we must include routine HIV/STI testing coupled with other prevention tools in our lives regularly to reduce HIV transmission. If current HIV transmission rates continue as it pertains to black gay men specifically, 1 in 2 will become HIV positive in their lifetime. Though these numbers are demoralizing, we, the community have the necessary tools to change the narrative and create change! As one of the leading organizations in Atlanta shifting the narrative, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to launch the “1K Campaign”. The 1K Campaign is a pledge that is dedicated to testing 1,000 individuals for HIV by National HIV Testing Day, which is June 27th. This also includes linking newly diagnosed individuals to medical care within 30 days.

“I asked myself, is this achievable, when I originally drafted the 1K Campaign.” Darwin Thompson, NAESM’s Executive Director questioned. “I looked at it again and said, yes it can be achieved. We have the necessary tools and readily available resources to not only make this campaign impactful, but to succeed in achieving the goal of testing 1,000 individuals. But we cannot do this work alone! The recent statistics have generated a national call to action, so we are asking all community based organizations, federally qualified health centers, PLWHA (People Living With HIV/AIDS), community activists, government officials and last, but not least friends and family members to accept the challenge and strive to get 1,000 individuals tested in your local area by National HIV Testing Day (June 27th). Now is not the time for us to operate in silos when it comes to this epidemic. We need to stand united with a common mission…which is the elimination of HIV within the community. NAESM has accepted the challenge, will you?”

There are multiple ways individuals can get involved in this campaign. Individuals and agencies can get involved by:
• Accepting the 1K Challenge and posting the flyer on their social media platforms.
• Volunteering at a local CBO to assist in outreach/testing efforts.
• Making a one-time monetary donation to a local AIDS Service Organization to help in the HIV/AIDS fight.
• Encouraging individuals to get tested and know their status.
• Working with individuals who are not linked or engaged in care to become more active and engaged in their care

The mission of NAESM is to provide national and local leadership to address the myriad of health and wellness issues confronted by Black gay men through advocacy, services, and education. NAESM is a financially solvent service organization with a supportive leadership structure and diverse board of directors that builds a community of Black gay men to eliminate HIV and other health conditions that disproportionately affect our community. NAESM fosters a climate of trust, integrity, and respect that encourages the provision of quality services.

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For more information on The 1K Campaign or if you are interested in accepting the challenge please contact Damon Johnson at damonj@naesm.org or (404)691-8880(ext. 46).

From Boulevard of Broken Dreams to House of H.O.P.E. (Housing, Opportunity, Prevention, Empowerment)

Public health aficionados love to throw around the term, “Housing as prevention!” but what does that really mean? Most of us in the field have some form of shelter to go to at the end of our 10+ hour days. Whatever form it may present itself; a warm apartment, an amazing industrial loft or a cozy bungalow. We have a place to kick off our shoes and relax our feet, soak them in some Epsom salt while lavender candles burn in the background depending on what type of day you had. 

Often times, we forget that a house is more than a roof with four walls some doors and windows or a state of mind. A house must initially begin with an established foundation to support the structures that are built atop of it. If my foundation is unhinged due to cracks or in some extreme cases, my foundation doesn’t exist at all; I am more susceptible to a myriad of issues including expensive repairs or a crumbling structure.

BP Pic 3According to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, at least 13,790 people were considered homeless in the state of Georgia in January 2015. The City of Atlanta was “home” to 4,317 of those reported as homeless; 24% of those braved the cold in an unsheltered state, while the other 76% were lucky enough to reside in Emergency or Transitional Housing facilities. Poverty was the unifying condition for essentially all of Georgia’s homeless population. Other factors that place many people at risk for homelessness include physical disability or chronic medical problems, family violence, mental illness and substance abuse. Substance abusers are the most vulnerable people affected by homelessness, accounting for almost 20%.

Now for the translation…homelessness is a psychosocial, socioeconomic and health concept that affects EVERY ONE OF US! For those fortunate enough to live in midtown and you walk out of your house to see the collective of individuals standing on Piedmont, whose mere presence you constantly gripe about…homeless. That friend of yours who comes over more frequently than not and sleeps on your couch and you can’t remember the last time they invited you over…probably homeless. For those who wonder why incarceration and STD rates continue to rise…these happen to be both consequences and causes of chronic HOMELESSNESS.

Gerald’s House, formerly AESM House opened its doors in 1994. The housing program had the objective of stable housing for men living with HIV/AIDS, who were also homeless or living in less BP Picthan desirable conditions. Gerald’s House provided a stable environment to increase my medication adherence because I knew I had a place to lay my head and proper places to store my medication. You were provided an address to put on applications, improving the likelihood that you would get a job, obtain insurance and eat. We all know the Medicaid and food stamp folk love to send correspondence via snail mail. Gerald’s House also laid the foundation for our underlying mental health and substance issues to be addressed because one of our biggest problems was addressed; a safe place to lay our heads. Today, the Gerald’s House Initiative continues to provide the same comprehensive, affordable and secure housing options since its commencement. Residents of the program have the advantage of utilizing the onsite supportive services to escalate their self-sufficiency. These FREE services include non-medical case management, mental health and substance abuse counseling, peer support, job training and housing activities.

Additionally, through the Gerald’s House Initiative there are now financial assistance programs available to assist those transitioning into permanent housing solutions. The Deposit Assistance Program (DAP) assists PLWHA cover the costs of either the initial deposit or the first month’s rent for home sweet home. The Short Term Rental, Mortgage and Utility (STRMU) Assistance Program covers the aforementioned expenses for a period of up to 21 weeks in a 52 week period. Individuals qualifying for STRMU assistance must currently be housed and demonstrate that the absence of assistance will result in homelessness. 

Housing assistance is a powerful and cost effective way to improve health outcomes and prevent the onset of illness. More than 250 men and women have called Gerald’s House “home” or benefitted from its supplementary services. If your house is not a home, please take our quick assessment to see if you qualify for assistance.


Or if you would like to donate to the Gerald’s House Initiative or any of our robust services, contact me at 404 691 8880 ext 25.

#NAESM2016 #liveit #beit #ownit #goodtogreat #prevention

D’Metris W. – Grants & Events Specialist

NSPIRE – A NAESM Initiative!

NSPIRE-Logo

Atlanta, Georgia, April 6, 2016 – NAESM’s Department of Prevention and Support Services would like to announce NSPIRE, an all-new program to help aid newly diagnosed, HIV positive young men who have sex with men (YMSM). NSPIRE (Necessary Support to Prevent, Intervene, Reduce and Eliminate HIV-related Health Inequities) is one of NAESM’s responses to the HIV lifetime risk data that was released at CROI 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if current HIV diagnoses rates continue, about 1 in 2 black men who have sex with men in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. For NAESM’s Executive Director, Darwin Thompson, this served as a wakeup call but also an opportunity to redesign and implement targeted HIV prevention programs to ensure NAESM is during our part to help reduce lifetime risk.

“1 in 2 black men who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime is disheartening but is absolutely preventable. We currently have viable options to help prevent infections which include effective strategies like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP). To support those strategies in the fight against new infections we have structured a program for young men who have sex with men to make sure they’re making healthier and more informed decisions in response to the lifetime HIV risk data presented by the CDC. In addition to this program, as an organization we must continue to have a concentrated focus on YMSM 18-24 years old as they remain the face of the HIV epidemic.” expressed Thompson.

NSPIRE is intended to: assess, acknowledge, and address systematic, structural, personal (emotional, spiritual, physical, familial, mental and/or literacy) and social factors that serve and or may serve as barriers to viral suppression. NSPIRE will stand true to its mission, to connect newly diagnosed HIV positive YMSM between 18-24 years of age with supportive mentors to help them on their road to viral suppression. While the core of this program will focus on viral suppression, mentors will be tasked with working with their mentees to address and achieve other life goals as well.

The mission of NAESM is to provide national and local leadership to address the myriad of health and wellness issues confronted by black gay men through advocacy, services, and education. NAESM, Inc. was created in an effort to counteract the ever increasing spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color with a focus on black gay men. NSPIRE was made possible by generous support from Janssen Therapeutics and the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund.

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If you have any questions about NSPIRE or are interested in becoming a mentor,

feel free to contact Damon Johnson at (404) 691-8880 [ext. 46] or by email at damonj@naesm.org.

 

 

Job Opportunity – Mental Health Counselor

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Atlanta, GA, March 8, 2015 – NAESM is proud to announce the opening of the Mental Health Counselor position. We will be looking for the individual to start as soon as possible. If you meet the qualifications, we encourage you to submit a résumé with a letter of interest. Applications are kept on file for six months. After this time has lapsed, applicants will have to reapply. Salaries are competitive. NAESM is an Equal Opportunity Employer. PLWA are encouraged to apply.

NAESM is a financially solvent service organization with a supportive leadership structure and diverse board of directors that builds a community of Black gay men to eliminate HIV and other health conditions that disproportionately affect our community. NAESM fosters a climate of trust, integrity, and respect that encourages the provision of quality services. NAESM’s goal is to provide national and local leadership to address the myriad of health and wellness issues confronted by black gay men through advocacy, services, and education.

As one of the leading organizations facing these issues head on in the metro Atlanta area, we are transforming and expanding our services to the community at large. These positions can be applied for directly through our site at http://naesm.org/about-us/careers/.
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If you have any questions about the openings, feel free to contact Darwin Thompson at (404) 691-8880 or by email at info@naesm.org.