The CARES Foundation 2015 Annual Report
The CARES Foundation is committed to improving the health of the Sacramento Region by supporting the work of organizations to prevent the spread of HIV and treat those living with HIV/AIDS. While the Foundation values innovation, our focus for grant-making is on organizations that are stable and well-managed, and have a demonstrated ability to impact HIV. Equal consideration is given to grant requests that address either prevention or care. Unlike other chronic diseases, HIV is unique in the need to not only care for the patient, but to do everything possible to prevent transmission to others. Finding those infected with HIV means that testing also is a prime concern for the Foundation.
In 2015, the CARES Foundation was pleased to authorize grant funding to 10 organizations to support 12 specific projects aimed at meeting the Foundation’s priorities. Follows are highlights of accomplishments made throughout 2015:
Wind Youth Services
The Street Education Project provided street-based HIV/AIDS outreach, education, safer-sex supplies and support to 1,468 youth experiencing homelessness; educated 1,638 youth on how to use safer sex and substance use supplies; provided HIV testing to 167 youth; and connected 66% of youth testing positive for HIV to healthcare services. Additionally, 121 youth were assisted in Medi-Cal enrollment.
Safer Alternatives thru Networking & Education (SANE)
The HIV Prevention through Expanded Syringe Exchange Project provided services to slow the spread of HIV/HCV among people who inject drugs (PWID); facilitated health improvement; and enhanced quality of life through effective syringe access and education. Compared to 2014 data, the number of contacts with PWID increased by 181%, to 2,767; contacts with People of Color increased by 188%, to 1,711; contacts with women increased by 151%, to 807; the number of sterile syringes distributed increased by 9.9%, to 493,484; and the number of used syringes returned to SANE increased by 4%, to a 20% return rate.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
The HIV/AIDS Local Outreach (HALO) Project provided critical support services to almost 100 individuals and families in the rural areas of the Sacramento Region faced with the nutritional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual challenges of living with HIV/AIDS, including food supplements, utility assistance and transportation to medical appointments.
Sacramento LGBT Community Center
The Health Outreach Program provided free sexual health education, outreach, prevention supplies and connection to HIV/STD testing to the LGBT community. Over 11,000 individuals were served and 13 peer groups were provided within the first six months. Planning for three HIV related community events, Red Dress Party, Condoms and Cupcakes and World AIDS Day, were underway.
Cares Community Health
The Condom Finder Project worked to decrease HIV and STD rates throughout the Greater Sacramento Area through widespread distribution of close to 2 million condoms and lube packets, with an expansion to over 200 distribution sites. Further, the online educational campaign, focusing on safer sex supply supplies for youth, gays and persons of color, has averaged over 300,00 views monthly.
Cares Community Health
The Residential Drug Treatment Program, through a subcontract with Clean and Sober Recovery Services (CSRS), provides 90-day inpatient substance abuse treatment for high-risk persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) to facilitate major life turnaround. Within the first 9 months of the project, 24 patients began treatment, 13 patients completed the program and 5 patients were still in treatment. In addition, 100% of patients who completed the 90-day treatment program who were homeless prior to treatment, were no longer homeless after successfully completing program.
Cares Community Health
The HIV/AIDS Prevention Coalition, a collaborative effort between CCH, Harm Reduction Services (HRS) and Sierra Foothills AIDS Foundation (SFAF), provides services to identify all HIV infected individuals in the region and to keep all people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) in medical care. Within the first 9 months of the project, 145 PLWH who had fallen out of medical care were identified, provided outreach, and returned to care. Additionally, through expanded and targeted HIV testing, 50 people newly tested positive for HIV in the first nine months of the project.
The Regents of the University of California, Davis
The UC Davis Clinical Research Unit’s HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Project supported clinical trials and expanded research activities involving AIDS malignancies; mucosal immunity and cure agenda research; as well as Hepatitis C treatments. Within the first nine months of the project, 40 new PLWH were enrolled in 6 new clinical trials.
Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC)
The BE SAFE: Providing Culturally Adapted Prevention and Education for Patients Living or At-Risk of HIV/AIDS/STIs Project focuses on prevention efforts for SNAHC patients at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS/STIs and closing gaps in the medical care and support services for patients. Within the first quarter, health education materials were developed; an average of 3,000 condoms were distributed monthly; and a community workshop regarding HIV/AIDS/STIs prevention was provided.
Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH)
The Outreach and Education project provided street and online outreach, business cooperation, education and HIV/STD testing to raise awareness and assist with HIV prevention efforts for women in the sex worker business in Sacramento. In 2015, 720 contacts were made with sex workers to distribute condoms and HIV/STD prevention information; 74 women sex workers and 11 high risk men were tested for HIV; 75% of women that had 6 sessions of peer mentoring were tested for HIV; and 85% of women that attended a women’s empowerment training session showed an increased in knowledge around HIV risk, personal empowerment strategies and negotiation skills.
Harm Reduction Services (HRS)
The Safe Points Syringe Exchange Project served over 4,000 individuals through 11,507 contacts and provided 700,000 syringes to injection drug users in the greater Sacramento area, while locating 12 new outreach sites. HRS collected over 138,706 used syringes (19.8% of those distributed) and 100% of used collected syringes were disposed of through Medi-Waste. Additionally, 85% of syringe exchange clients were referred to other service providers to meet needs such as healthcare, housing and substance abuse treatment.
Gender Health Center (GHC)
The Healthcare Navigation Project was developed to improve access to HIV/AIDS medical care through navigation services; a peer health advocacy program; and through provider education aimed at decreasing barriers to providing culturally appropriate care for transgender individuals. CARES Foundation funding began during the last month of 2015 so outcomes have not yet been reported and will be captured in the 2016 CARES Foundation Annual Report.