PrEP for HIV Prevention

We would like to echo a message sent out by Positively Living Inc in Knoxville regarding HIV prevention:

PrEP is preventative medication used by people who are HIV-negative but at high risk for being exposed to HIV through sexual contact or injection drug use. Individuals can take PrEP medication ahead of time in order to prevent the virus from establishing an infection

COVID-19 has led to a decrease in sexual activity (good job social distancing y’all!) Unfortunately, this has also resulted in some folks forgetting or stopping their Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which helps prevent the spread of HIV.

It is very important to continue taking PrEP as directed for a few reasons:

  • It can be very difficult to predict when your next sexual encounter might be, and once you stop and then re-start PrEP it takes 7 days to become effective for males, and 21 days for females!
  • If you stop, you MUST have an HIV test prior to restarting PrEP. This is because if an individual is HIV positive and begins taking PrEP, the virus could become resistant to anti-viral medications.
  • We are living in an uncertain time and stress levels are at an all-time high. One benefit of taking PrEP is that it can help reduce anxiety surrounding sex, and our lives in general.

Choice Health Network is committed to making PrEP accessible, even during COVID-19. We are continuing to offer telehealth appointments combined with labs to make the process as safe as possible. And, if you would prefer a 90-day supply of PrEP as opposed to a 30-day supply, we can provide that!

Reducing the number of new HIV infections remains a public health priority. Please do your part! If you have any questions or need help accessing PrEP, please call our medical clinic at 865-525-1540 or click here to learn more.

World Hepatitis Day

July 28th is World Hepatitis Day. Hepatitis C is one of the most common conditions associated with substance use disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 300 million people in the world are infected with hepatitis and are completely unaware, and the rates of hepatitis in East Tennessee have dramatically risen following the opioid epidemic.

The world Hepatitis Day theme for 2020 is to “find the missing millions” with the hope to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. If you have one minute to spare, the World Hepatitis Day website have 4 simple options to get involved in ending hepatitis.

If you or someone you know does not know their hepatitis status and would like to be tested or is known to be positive and would like to be referred for treatment, please contact us and we will try to connect you with services.

https://www.worldhepatitisday.org/get-involved/

NalaxoFind

This month we would like to highlight the smartphone app NalaxoFind. NaloxoFind lets users register as a naloxone (Narcan) carrier or use the app to find naloxone carriers in an emergency, while waiting for emergency services to arrive. If a carrier is nearby they will be alerted when a naloxone request is made. The app allows carriers to quickly see where the emergency is and get directions using their smartphone.

Trained naloxone carriers can customize their response radius. For instance, if you are a naloxone carrier, you can set your app to only alert you for emergencies within your neighborhood. NaloxoFind can be found in the App Store and Google Play store.

June is PTSD Awareness Month

From the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs: Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.

PTSD Coach is a free, easy-to-use mobile application. It was developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2011. It is a convenient way to learn about the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You can also learn about coping skills and PTSD treatments. Research studies have shown that PTSD Coach can reduce PTSD symptoms, especially when used as part of therapy. The app may also help with symptoms of depression. PTSD Coach is not meant to replace professional care.

More information about the PTSD Coach app can be found here: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/ptsdcoach_app.asp

June is Men’s Health Month

According to the U.S. Department of Health, men die 5 years younger than women, and die at higher rates from 9 of the top 10 causes of death, including from substance use disorders and overdoses. This is frequently due to men placing their own health on a “back burner.”

The Men’s Health Network recommends encouraging the men in your life to get a physical this June and get physical by exercising regularly.

Find out more and sign up for a healthy “e-male” newsletter at http://www.menshealthmonth.org/

June is Pride Month

“People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) often face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges not encountered by people who identify as heterosexual. They also face a greater risk of harassment and violence. As a result of these and other stressors, sexual minorities are at increased risk for various behavioral health issues. LGBTQ persons also have a greater likelihood than non-LGBTQ persons of experiencing a substance use disorder (SUD) in their lifetime, and they often enter treatment with more severe SUDs.”

In East Tennessee, we are fortunate to have organizations such as the Appalachian OUTreach program who aim to “empower, connect, and support the East Tennessee lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people through the provision of safe and healthy, inclusively welcoming and affirming programs and respect for partnerships, which promote community building, resource development, and education for all”

You can find out more about and support the Appalachian OUTreach program (as easily as linking your Kroger Rewards card) at https://appalachianoutreach.org/

Resources for people experiencing unsafe social distancing

Due to social distancing, many people are spending more time in their houses than ever before. Unfortunately for some, home is not always a safe environment. We would like to share several resources for anyone who may be experiencing difficult or unsafe social distancing.

  • National Crisis 24/7 helpline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Family violence 24/7 helpline of East TN 865-521-6336
  • Scott County 24/7 crisis helpline 423-569-3333
  • If you are unable to speak safely, text “LOVEIS” to 22522

Grant Resources

HHS Prevention Funding Opportunities

HRSA Grants

NIH Funding Opportunities

Rural Health Funding Opportunities

USDA Funding Opportunities 

Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program

  • Track One: Recovery Grants provide immediate relief to address the economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency
  • Track Two: Impact Grants advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainability of rural health

Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

USDA Racial Equity and Justice Conservation Program

EDA American Rescue Plan Funding Programs

Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Programs

FY22 Brownfields Job Training Grants

Community Mobility Ready-to-Launch Grants 2021

Tennessee State Loan Repayment Program

Families First Community Grants

P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Grant

Grant Writing Assistance

A Story Told Is A Life Saved

In recognition of Mother’s Day, we would like to share some resources for parents. This holiday can be especially difficult for parents who have children using substances, have children in recovery, or have lost children to substance use. Moms Against Drugs is an organization where parents can share their story and support for one another while raising awareness and funds to aid in the prevention of substance use. Their website is https://momsagainstdrugs.com.

Online Recovery and Support Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many feeling unstable and isolated. This is particularly worrisome for the millions of Americans who rely on social groups and stability to maintain their recovery. Below are the links to a collection of online and voice resources for those in recovery looking for extra support during social distancing.

East Tennessee and National Online Recovery Resources

Virtual Recovery Resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Online and Telephone Support Groups