Resource Logo
CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Turning Bitter Experience to Better Treatment




 

Washington Post (09.10.11) - Friday, November 11, 2011

The HIV/AIDS nonprofit Women's Collective provides testing and other services from a strip mall storefront in Northeast Washington. The one-floor clinic has a staff of 18 and operates on a $1.6 million budget, of which $300,000 comes from the city, said founder Patricia Nalls.

Sabrina Heard is one of the community health workers at the Women's Collective. Each day, she juggles the complexities of living with HIV herself while providing support to clients.

Heard was diagnosed in 1990, when she gave birth to twins at Howard University Hospital. At that point, she had spent years in the District's crack scene after dropping out of Howard and working odd jobs at day care centers or as a seamstress.

"I didn't want to deal with the disappointment of not being able to return to school. I smoked drugs as a means of not feeling exactly what was going on at the time," said Heard.

In 2000, Heard enrolled in a local drug treatment center and her five children, none of whom have HIV, were moved into foster care. She completed detoxification, got her children back, and began volunteering and working part-time at Women's Collective. After being formally diagnosed with AIDS in 2004, Heard started taking antiretrovirals and her health improved.

In a private room at the clinic recently, Heard counseled a 37-year-old woman with HIV about keeping an upcoming doctor's appointment. "This may be new for you. I remember when it was new for me," Heard told the woman, clasping her hands tightly and offering a calming smile.



 


Copyright © 2011 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.



Information in this article was accurate in November 11, 2011. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.