Instructions: Response must be at least 300 words written in current APA format with at least two academic references cite. References must be within the last five years. Response must extend, refute/correct, or add additional nuance.
To bridge the gap in healthcare disparities for patients with HIV, there must be more measures taken in the community to promote these patients’ health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report there are over 1.2 million people living in the US with HIV and although new diagnoses made annually are falling the progress remains uneven. For example, gay and bisexual men made up an estimated 2% of the U.S. population in 2013 but 55% of the number of Americans living with HIB which means that 1 in 6 gay men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime (The Human Rights Campaign, n.d.).
Aspire Health Partner’s Centaur program is one example of how to bridge the gap in healthcare disparities for HIV. This mental health organization in Orlando Florida works closely with community leaders to provide free HIV and hepatitis testing, educational sessions, and counseling for mental health and substance abuse to the homeless and underinsured. The Centaur program also offers free housing opportunities specifically for the homeless population who have HIV. A key benefit that the Centaur program provides the community is the interactive education sessions for teens. Using interactive, student-centered methods of teaching, rather than heavily didactic ones, has been proven to be more successful. HIV education can help teens to not only develop and maintain safer behaviors but also reduce stigma and discrimination towards people affected by it and living with HIV (UNAIDS, n.d.).
An important step to bridge the gap in underserved teens who have mental health is to ensure they are being screening and referred to the appropriate place for treatment. Rather than let society and peer pressure steer them in the wrong direction, they need professional help for their mental health needs. Substance abuse and mental health issues affect millions of adolescents in the US and statistics also show that about 1 in 4 adolescents who experience mental disorders will suffer from severe impairment and only about half of the adolescents who suffer from mental health issues do receive services (Lipari et al., 2018). Part of this lack of treatment is an inadequate screening of these conditions. As teens are being seen by their primary care providers, school counselors, and school nurses they should be screened for any red flags of substance abuse or mental health issues. These signs include worsening anger, failing grades, suicidal ideations, acting out, problems at school, physical fights, isolation, and eating problems.
Aspire Health Partner’s navigation program helps to bridge this gap by collaborating with the local sheriff department and primary care offices to provide education about what mental health services are available for teens and be a point of contact for referrals. If the sheriff’s office is called to an altercation at school or a primary care office sees a patient showing signs of depression or other mental illness, they can fax the navigation team a patient referral and the team will follow up with the patient and family to set up treatment. The treatment options might include outpatient counseling, group therapy, family therapy, and inpatient crisis stabilization if indicated.