Outreach & Education Update

ALFA Crop-0897

2014 has been a trend-setting year for the education and outreach department. Previously, when a rapid test was performed, confirmation testing was provided through the health department. Now, staff members are able to utilize a two-step twin rapid test which serves as a confirmatory. Due to the quick confirmation, clients are able to be bridged into care much more quickly. Early detection is generally identified with better outcomes. With 583 tests performed already this year, 9 people tested positive.  All 9 individuals have been successfully bridged into care. Numbers have been especially high among gay and bi-sexual men.

Fall signals the return to school and ALFA staff and volunteers are busy going to schools, colleges and universities in the area. The back to school season closes with a large event at Appalachian State University where last year over 100 college students were tested for and educated about HIV.

Looking forward, the education and outreach department is working with the state in order to become a Hepatitis C testing site. The need for testing is great and this opportunity would impact a large proportion of our community.

ALFA’s education and outreach team is always looking for qualified individuals to become community health educators, testers, and administrative volunteers. Please contact ALFA’s  Volunteer Coordinator, Thom Hutchins at 828.322.1447 ext. 233 or email alfavol@alfainfo.org if you are interested in becoming a volunteer on the ALFA team. Remind your friends and loved ones. Know your status! Get tested! Together, we are greater than AIDS!