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Integrated PASEO: Get with the Program

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by  Anthony De Jesús, Integrated Paseo program

Sex workers, drug addicts, people with families, men, women, and children: this is what some communities consist of and everyone in every community of Chicago is at risk of disease. Reaching out to the community is extremely important in order to increase awareness and to decrease the amount of people who are at risk of contracting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV), and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Organizations within these communities have created programs to help with this mission. The Integrated PASEO program is just such a program that is committed to alleviating the health afflictions of those who engage in sexual activities and those who use drugs. The program helps reduce the spread and risk by providing free testing for HIV, HCV, and STI’s and referrals and provides counseling services to those who are afflicted by substance abuse. Every test administered is one life saved; despite the results being positive or negative, knowing your status is extremely important. For anyone who tests positive, steps can be taken to provide referrals for treatment. For all whose results are negative, it is added security and peace of mind.

The Integrated PASEO program, located at Norwegian American Hospital, provides free testing and screening for HIV, HCV, and STI’s, free “Seeking Safety” counseling, free harm reduction kits, free female and male condoms, and free packages of lubrication. Get with the program Monday through Friday, between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. For anyone who screens positive, a referral is made for treatment; any individual who screens positive for substance abuse and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are allowed to participate in the free “Seeking Safety” Counseling Program. It is never too late to know your status. Getting tested every three months will increase the security of your health and provide a comfort knowing your results. Take advantage of the free services provided by Integrated PASEO every weekday and help spread the word, not the affliction.

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