It starts with education
When the first HIV and AIDS conference was held at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne in 1985, the Positive Resource Connection (then AIDS Task Force) knew early on the importance of education. In the 1980s, education was the only method available at that time. Today, there are more prevention methods available to prevent HIV infection, but–even with these advancements–there are approximately 50,000 new cases of HIV occurring in the U.S. each year. Prevention education remains one of the most important tools in our tool box to stop the spread of HIV.
Through our outreach services programs, the Positive Resource Connection provides HIV/STD and hepatitis prevention education targeting populations heavily impacted by new HIV infection in 12 counties in northeast Indiana. We also conduct street outreach in Allen County, participate in HIV/STD awareness programs at community events, and conduct HIV testing and harm reduction counseling to anyone in our region wanting an HIV test. The Positive Resource Connection educates more than 8,000 people and tests more than 1,500 people each year.
The Positive Resource Connection also works to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that continue to surround HIV. Stigma and discrimination can obstruct HIV positive people’s access to treatment, housing, and employment and can hinder at-risk individuals from receiving information, education, testing, and counseling. Stigma and discrimination can drive vulnerable groups such as injection drug users and men who have sex with men underground, which may reduce the our ability to reach these populations with treatment, care, support, testing, and education. By reducing the stigma and discrimination through our outreach programs, people living with HIV or those most at-risk are more inclined to receive care, support, education, and counseling through programs and services that are offered by the Positive Resource Connection.