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When Passion meets Purpose Featured

Michelle is a feisty woman who sometimes wears her dreadlocks like a crown. She is one of the Client Advocate Associates (CAA) hired by Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) in Guyana. She works tirelessly to help link newly diagnosed HIV positive persons to care and treatment services, and assist with getting defaulting HIV+ clients re linked  into the national health care system.

feature story 1 8 2020 1Michelle is a feisty woman who sometimes wears her dreadlocks like a crown. She is one of the Client Advocate Associates (CAA) hired by Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) in Guyana. She works tirelessly to help link newly diagnosed HIV positive persons to care and treatment services, and assist with getting defaulting HIV+ clients re linked  into the national health care system.
On any given day she can be seen hunched over a telephone, her voice soothing and strong with an intense undertone. Her gaze is sharp and focused on a faraway place. Today, she is engrossed in her conversation with ‘Minerva’, one of the newly diagnosed clients who was put on an ART regimen but is experiencing challenges. 
“From day to day it differs”, she later says. “This one was tough...the client is having a reaction to the ART medication and cannot sleep”. Michelle explains because of physical isolation of the client, it was impossible to see her face-to-face in a timely manner. As a stop-gap, via a telephone call, she walked ‘Minerva’ through a number of possible options with the hope one would help with the upset stomach and tingling feelings being explained.  A few hours later the client calls to let Michelle know one of the remedies worked - ginger tea to soothe the stomach. The client was able to sleep for a solid few hours.
These are the little things that makes a difference, Michelle notes, taking the time to develop a relationship with the clients she works with is essential. “Now Minerva trusts that I do care and that I will have her best interest at heart. I hope she will continue to see me as a resource and not only take my calls but continues to call me when she needs help".
The intensive and proactive client engagement approach used by Michelle is the same as is used by other Client Advocates working in the community to support HIV positive members of the key populations – sex workers, men who have sex with men, and transgender persons – along UNAIDS 90/90/90 HIV continuum of care.
This initiative, which commenced in July 2017 and continues to date, has shown very encouraging results. At the end of November 2019, data showed CAAs were able to test over 1500 KP members, diagnose one hundred as HIV positive and linked 79% of these individuals to national HIV care and treatment services. 
NAPS will continue to support this and other emerging innovative strategies in order to make progress along UNAIDS 90/90/90 HIV continuum and ultimately contribute to Guyana’s HIV goals.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2020 14:54
Written on Friday, 03 January 2020 Published in News Stories Read 684 times