AIDS Volunteers Inc, of Lexington, has secured a $100,000 grant from the Elton John Foundation. A large portion of the money will be used to purchase a mobile outreach vehicle that will provide HIV and Hepatitis C testing in Eastern and Central Kentucky.
AVOL Director Jon Parker said the mobile clinic is a game changer. “We’ve not had this capacity until now. I think we will be able to reach that we’ve not been able to reach before,” Parker said.
Parker said state figures show one in 12 people living with HIV don’t know whether they are in infection with HIV. He said it’s important to connect those people with care and reduce the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.
Parker said the van is more of a "clinic office on wheels" than a full blown medical unit. “The HIV test is a mouth swab or a finger stick. So, we don’t need a lot of clinic for that,” he said. “We need a meeting space, a place that’s comfortable, a place to sit down and talk to a person for about 20 minutes about their risk, and conduct the test.”
Other funds will support a smart-phone on-line service. Parker said it will provide information about the nearest prevention services and testing in Eastern Kentucky. The van is expected to hit the streets and roads of the region in the spring.