Salisbury Post (01.19.12) - Monday, February 06, 2012
The nonprofit Rowan County AIDS Task Force recently changed
its name to the Rowan Care Alliance (RCA), though it still
provides HIV/AIDS services, including testing and prevention
education. The group decided to remove "AIDS" from its name
because stigma continues to affect people with HIV/AIDS.
"HIV stigma is a huge deterrent to testing, education,
prevention, and outreach," said Stacey Cuevas, an RCA board
member and a supervisor at HIV Case Management (HCM) at Rowan
Regional Medical Center. "Many people, including medical
professionals, believe that all people with HIV or AIDS are
drug users or lead a risky lifestyle."
Of the 230 people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Rowan County, 96
are HCM clients who are actively seeking help with doctors'
appointments, transportation, and treatment options, Cuevas
said. The majority of HCM clients, 61 percent, contracted the
virus heterosexually; 56 percent are male; 44 percent are
female; 65 percent are African-American; 26 percent are
Caucasian; 7 percent are Latino; and 1 percent each are Asian
and Native American.
Many people with HIV avoid seeking help because in Salisbury
"everybody knows everybody," said Lawrence Jones, an HCM
client. "They are too embarrassed to come forward; the
information is too personal."
"If one person gets tested for HIV because our new name is
welcoming and non-threatening, we have succeeded," said Dr.
Gordon Senter, RCA's president.
For more information about case management services, telephone
Stacey Cuevas at 704-210-5951.