Lack of HIV Testing/Prevention Resources on Eastern Shore

EASTERN SHORE –  1 in 7.  That’s the number one local organization tells me of people living with HIV that don’t know it.  They say that’s concerning as there are limited services for people here on the Shore. “There are absolutely a limited number of resources here on the Eastern Shore when it comes to testing, when it comes to preventative care, education, or anything down the line as far as treatment of HIV,” said Salisbury PFLAG Executive Director Mark DeLancey.

DeLancey also says these lack of resources could be due the Eastern Shore not getting enough funding. “The funding to actually get tested here falls very short but also the stigma that’s still rapped around the persona or the people that’s trying to get tested or even want to get tested is very hard,” said DeLancey.

To add on to this, Founder of MidShore Alliance Tina Jones says another issue is the lack of knowledge about those impacted by HIV, which in turn makes some scared to seek services. “Personal experience I’ve had particularly in health care settings where people don’t understand me as a transgender individual for example and being mis-gendered or being asked inappropriate questions that had nothing to do with the reason why I’m there,” said Jones.  “Through that fear and lack of understanding, we can’t address population health needs. It’s a real challenge here on the shore.”

I am told overall, educating people is a key factor in making more resources available.  Jones says she is currently with working with a network of people to create a new resource center to make information more accessible. “Part of what we have to do first is do the gathering of what all the resources are that are here. There is no official record of that and what’s available,” said Jones.

Looking into the future, Jones says she hope everyone can have access to the same sources and that inclusion is the ultimate goal. “The whole idea here is not separate but equal, right?” All of us being able to access the same services equally and freely and all of those services being available for whatever an individuals needs are,” said Jones.

 

 

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