$169K Grant Expands Hepatitis C Services In Northeast Indiana
The Northeast Indiana Positive Resource Connection continues to grow and evolve since its 1985 inception, now incorporating a new Hepatitis C department and creating two new staff positions. Historically known as the AIDS Task Force in Fort Wayne, the organization was assembled by 15 volunteer community members in Fort Wayne in response to the AIDS crisis. During an unnerving time in the country, the small Fort Wayne agency provided resources and support for people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS and their friends and family. While many HIV-positive people faced discrimination, stigma and ostracism, mostly due to severe misinformation, the AIDS Task Force was a safe, judgement-free and supportive environment.
While initially formed in 1985 with the idea that the AIDS Task Force would be short-lived until a cure was found, it eventually became clear the agency was going to be a valuable long-term asset to the community. Within the next 10 years, the agency had obtained its nonprofit status, expanded into multiple surrounding counties, hired their first case managers and educational staff, and began HIV testing in 1997. In 2015, the AIDS Task Force updated its name to the current Northeast Positive Resource Connection in order to remain relevant and reflect the expansion of services and reduce barriers for people needing assistance.
Today the Positive Resource Connection remains the oldest and geographically largest HIV/AIDS service organization in the state of Indiana. The agency has expanded into 12 counties in northeast Indiana, serving nearly 400 people living with HIV through non-medical case management services. Their Outreach team educates over 3,000 people annually about HIV/AIDS, STIs, and Viral Hepatitis while also providing free HIV and Hepatitis C testing for over 700 people each year. Among the agency’s newest departments are PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) navigation services to prevent new cases of HIV/AIDS and, most recently, care coordination services to persons living with Hepatitis C.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, the Positive Resource Connection is currently hiring two Hepatitis C Care Coordinators. The primary goals of the new position are linking Hepatitis C-positive individuals into care and treatment; ensuring continuity of care until services are no longer needed; and promoting self-sufficiency through customized education, coordination of services, and empowerment of the individual. A full job description can be found on the Job Openings page of the agency’s website: positiveresourceconnection.org/job-openings. The organization has already begun the recruitment process and are looking to fill the open positions immediately.
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