Matrix Health advocates point to prevention & treatment as key to eliminating HIV/AIDS
DETROIT (November, 2017) – As World AIDS Day approaches, Matrix Human Services, now one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of HIV prevention and treatment services in Metro Detroit, is encouraging community members to get tested and offering two community events focused on testing and prevention.
“The focus of all HIV programs, including Matrix services, is stamping out the AIDS epidemic for good,” said Royale Theus, Early Intervention Services coordinator for Matrix, who has been in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention since 2002. “Effective prevention and safer sex methods, combined with medication regimens for those who are HIV-positive can achieve our goal. However, for the latter, our at-risk populations must be tested, and many are still opting out.”
In Metro Detroit, Matrix Human Services is seeing an increase in African American men under the age of 30 testing HIV positive with high viral loads and low CD4 (white blood cells called t-cells) counts, which means they have been HIV positive for longer than 30 days before getting a diagnosis.
Further, a significant percentage of these men are co-infected with other sexually-transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and/or syphilis.
“There are a host of situational factors at play for the low testing and treatment rates of HIV in Detroit, related to homelessness, lack of support, low literacy rates and the surge of opioid addictions,” said Theus. “We focus on each of these issues first to ensure consistent healthcare and treatment and enhance the likelihood that those who test positive maintain their healthcare programs, and those who are at-risk know how to be safer to minimize the risk of infection.”
“Matrix’s HIV counseling and testing support programs have two basic purposes: identify who is HIV-positive to get them to viral suppression through treatment and identify who is HIV-negative to educate them on how to stay that way,” said Kathie Griffin-Futch, Counseling and Testing Supervisor for Matrix, who has been in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention since 1992.
HIV case management services focus on getting regular medical care and treatment for those who test positive, reinforcing the importance of adhering to a regular prescription treatment regimen. For many, treatment will decrease their HIV viral load to undetectable levels, which virtually eliminates the possibility of transmission to another person.
Matrix provides testing throughout the year at locations in Detroit and Ferndale.
In recognition of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Matrix is extending its hours at Affirmations on Saturday, Dec. 2 to noon to 3 p.m.
Team Wellness Center
2925 Russell St.
2nd & 4th Mondays: 11 am – 2 pm
8097 Decutar St.
2nd & 4th Tuesdays: 11 am – 2 pm
445 Ledyard St.
2nd & 4th Wednesdays 10:30 am – 1 pm
Gigi’s Night Club
16920 W. Warren Ave.
1st Fridays: 10:30 pm – 2 am
290 W. Nine Mile Rd.
Wednesdays: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
1st & 3rd Saturdays 1 pm – 3 pm
MAC Health Office
429 Livernois St.
Monday-Friday, by appointment: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Thursdays Walk-in: 11 am – 4:30 pm
For more information about the Matrix Health and Wellness division, including its HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and counseling services, call 888-226-6366