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On June 1, Michigan AIDS Coalition formally launched its Integrated Testing Pilot Project, which now will include chlamydia, gonorrhea and hepatitis C in addition to their longstanding screenings for HIV and syphilis.
“For many years, we had been serving high risk populations including white, African-American and Latino men who have sex with other men, providing counseling and testing services for HIV and syphilis,” said MAC CEO Terry Ryan. “The same modes of transmission provide opportunities for other STD infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and hep C.”
“It made sense that we could better serve our clients, but also help stop the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases as well.”
This two-year pilot project, one of the first in Michigan, will operate under the banner MAC Health, and represents Michigan AIDS Coalition’s strategy of offering expanded health services to those communities most in need. The project is funded by the Gerstacker Foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and The Jewish Fund, providing almost $60,000 per year in support.
“These grants also allow us to expand testing to high risk heterosexual African-American men and women as well as other groups that current funding does not allow,” Ryan said. “We are very gratified by the continued support of the foundation community, and in particular these three long-time partners.”
Other participating partners are the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University, which will provide evaluation of the project.
Expanded testing services are offered at the MAC office in Ferndale, its MPowerment Detroit site in New Center, and the various bars, clubs and soup kitchens where MAC testing and outreach teams meet clients in their own communities.