South Dallas agency plans a capital campaign to open health center to serve South Dallas

Hope-Center

Abounding Prosperity CEO Kirk Myers, left, and HOPE Health’s Dr. Chrisette Dharma. (Courtesy AP Inc.)

 

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

Abounding Prosperity, the South Dallas AIDS agency, is expanding its services by opening HOPE Health Center. The clinic, for now, is located on Harry Hines Boulevard in North Dallas, but Abounding Prosperity officials hope to be able to move it into the South Dallas area soon.

AP has purchased land near its home office on MLK Boulevard, according to Special Projects and Programs Manager PJ Moton, and the agency will soon begin a capital campaign to build a new full-service clinic. The current clinic is in the office of Dr. Chrisette Dharma, whom AP has hired to administer its new program.

To start, Hope Health Center offers HIV testing, STD testing and treatment and PrEP for uninsured clients. PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, uses the HIV drug Truvada to prevent transmission of the virus. Without insurance, the cost of preventive treatment is out of reach of most people. Some insurance won’t cover it or have high co-pays that keep it out of reach and some doctors refuse to prescribe it.

AP has received grants to kickstart the clinic and get more people in the African-American community, which has the highest rate of new HIV infections, on PrEP. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, blacks make up only 11 percent of the population locally but they represent 38 percent of those with HIV. That is four times the rate for whites and Hispanics.

HOPE clinic will distinguish itself with its non-traditional hours, including evening hours on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, hoping to attract clients who work during the day and are unable to take off and get to a doctor.

Although AIDS Interfaith Network provides transportation to doctors appointments, Moton said that service is provided in unmarked vans. “Having HIV is still a huge thing in marginalized communities,” he explained.

PJ-Morton

Special Projects and Programs Manager PJ Moton

Moton had been a Human Rights Campaign HIV360 fellow. During his fellowship, he wrote a grant and received money from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to fund the project and a grant from Toyota to get a vehicle to provide unmarked transportation.

An open house for the HOPE Health Center, 8877 Harry Hines Blvd takes place on June 23.

TIP
Moton said AP has also initiated its TIP — the Transgender ID Program. A transgender person on staff will walk trans clients through the process of changing their gender markers. That includes accompanying that person to court.

Without ID that matches gender presentation, most trans people have trouble getting a job or accessing services. In Dallas County, correcting IDs isn’t difficult, but going to court for any reason can be daunting, especially for someone who’s never been to a courthouse before. Many delay changing their gender markers or avoid going altogether.

Having someone who knows how to navigate the system makes the process much easier.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 16, 2017.