People living with HIV need special treatment and care, especially many of the underserved HIV patients in our community. What some people sometimes forget, though, is that these patients also need the same primary medical care that all of us do. We canâ€™t adequately care for a patient if we only treat their HIV.
Our Family First Health providers treat their patientsâ€™ HIV no differently than any other health challenge they may have, like diabetes or heart disease. HIV does not define who our patients are. And, it certainly doesnâ€™t define Family First Health patient, Ed.
Caring for Our Underserved HIV Community
Ed is a part of our Caring Together program, a treatment program specifically designed to help HIV patients get both the HIV care and the primary care they need. Heâ€™s been a part of Caring Together and a patient of Dr. Asceline Goâ€™s since he first moved to the area in 2014.
â€œBefore I moved and began seeing Dr. Go, I wasnâ€™t always taking my meds like I was supposed to,â€ he said. â€œI received good care, but it wasnâ€™t like it is here. From day one, Family First Health was welcoming. Thereâ€™s a family-like feeling with everyone I talk to and who helps me with my treatment. Iâ€™m not a number.â€
Caring Together Also Supports the Mental and Emotional Impacts of Living with HIV
Ed shared how his case manager, Erin, and Dr. Go are two people he can rely on for the mental and emotional support he needs.
â€œSince moving here, life is 1000% better,â€ Ed said. â€œI feel safe and feel that I can ask Dr. Go or Erin anything.â€
Still, itâ€™s been a tough road, he said.
â€œI was a part of the group of people affected back when HIV first hit our country,â€ Ed said. â€œEveryone around me just started dying. Everyone I knew was gone, except me. I had survivorâ€™s guilt for the longest time. Itâ€™s still hard sometimes and some days I donâ€™t want to take my meds. But I know itâ€™s going to help me stay healthy.â€
Edâ€™s Success is The Result of a Team Approach and Many Services Found Outside the Doctorâ€™s Office
Thereâ€™s an entire team behind Ed providing him the care he needs to stay healthy. Erin, his case manager, works alongside Dr. Go and coordinates all of the resources he needs within Family First Health. She also coordinates all of the services Ed needs outside of Family First Health, like connecting him with his psychiatrist.
If Ed ever needs help with transportation to get to his appointments, help with basic needs like food and housing, or any other number of services or resources necessary for him to remain healthy, Erin finds those for him, too.
Just as important, sheâ€™s always there when he has a question or concern. Ed attributes his success in large part to Erin and her guidance.
â€œI donâ€™t know what Iâ€™d do without her,â€ Ed said.
Family Care in a Family-Like Environment is Everything to Ed
Ed has a strong support system at home with a long line of family members helping to care for him. He sees the same support from his Caring Together team and believes itâ€™s this approach that gives Family First Health its family-like feel.
â€œFamily is everything to me,â€ he said. â€œFamily First Health treats me like family.
Our ability to take care of patients like Ed through our Caring Together program is thanks to the continued support of our community members over the past 50 years. Please join us in celebrating our â€˜First 50â€™ by making a donation to our organization. As we continue to share our stories and look ahead at caring for our community over the next 50 years, your help and generosity are much appreciated.