CHICAGO — Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN) has been awarded a five-year, $2,500,000 grant from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to address substance use and mental health among young Chicagoans affected by HIV.
Beginning in October of 2017, TPAN’s new program, EPIC (Empowering Positive Innovative Change), will provide group intervention for Chicago’s living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS: black men who have sex with men (MSM), ages 18-29, and MSM 30 and over.
“TPAN has been serving young populations since 2010; this is our fourth SAMHSA program. EPIC will help TPAN to continue to provide such important services to a population that continues to be vulnerable,” said Julie Supple, Director of Client services.
Young men, ages 20-29, are the most frequently diagnosed with HIV, representing 43.2% of all new HIV diagnoses nationally. The Chicago Department of Public Health reports that 35% of those served by EPIC do not know their HIV status, with drug use as one of the top three barriers for testing.
EPIC will serve to reduce substance use, increase knowledge of HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C status, and provide better access to primary care services for HIV and hepatitis conditions. The program will including partnerships with Howard Brown Health, who operates a clinic at TPAN’s Edgewater office, the Haymarket Center, and Southwood Interventions. Participants seeking additional care for substance use will be referred to Haymarket Center and Southwood Intervention for inpatient, detox, and/or intensive outpatient programs, free of charge.
EPIC will build on the success of TPAN’s HOTTER (Healthy Outcomes through Treatment Empowerment, and Recovery) program, a cohort-based early intervention program for black young MSM, and TPAN’s youth drop-in space, The Tea Room, which provides an open, safe space for Chicago’s youth. “The clients that we reach on a daily basis consistently comment how TPAN and its programs increase their awareness and enhance their quality of life. We have found our niche in working with youth who are so vulnerable and experiencing all of these challenges,” said Supple.
Learn more about TPAN’s youth programming at tpan.com/youth.
via press release