OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As health officials continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic across Oklahoma, state leaders say they have received funding to tackle another disease.
The Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Service of the Oklahoma State Department of Health received an additional $2.15 million in funding to end the HIV epidemic in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is one of seven states identified as having a substantial rural burden of HIV.
Officials say the funding will be used to purchase rapid HIV testing kits for jails Oklahoma and Tulsa counties in order to screen high-risk detainees. They say the funding will also create a new self-testing program for the general public.
“This funding will also support contracts with three outreach case managers who identify at-risk clients, provide harm reduction education, testing, and linking clients to proper medical care,” said Terrainia Harris, interim director of the OSDH Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Service. “There are also plans to contract with five mental health therapists to assist new and previously diagnosed clients in addressing mental health and substance abuse concerns.”
The grant funding will also be used for the following:
- Purchase tablets for case management agencies to be used by clients to view prevention and health education messages, current resources available in their area, and to complete forms and surveys to assess their current needs.
- Gap analysis and needs assessment to identify and assist with quality improvement needs.
- Transportation through ride-sharing companies to provide rides to clients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS to attend social service appointments, mental health counseling, support groups, and grocery stores/food pantries.
- Supplies to assist clients with barriers related to medical appointments, social service appointments, and nutrition.
- Food pantries to be implemented in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, and Ardmore to provide service to persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or pregnant women with syphilis.
- Oklahoma State University-Project ECHO will be supplemented to create and present curriculum for medical providers across the state. Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes (ECHO) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management which empowers clinicians in rural and underserved communities to provide specialty care to more people where they live.
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