Because of the high incidence and prevalence of HIV infection among the IV drug using population it is important to have a clear policy regarding education, counseling, management, and referral. It is impossible to provide realistic, responsible treatment for IV drug users without addressing the serious problem of HIV infection. Alpha House has implemented a formal procedure to do so.
New residents are given HIV antibody pretest counseling sessions and within the first week are taken to the Family Health Center of Shadyside Hospital for a physical examination and more pretest counseling. The resident decides if he/she would like to get the HIV antibody test, the results of which are confidential. Alpha House staff will provide post-testing counseling to discuss how to interpret the results and the ramification. The type of counseling depends on the amount of information the resident discloses.
If a resident is infected with the HIV virus, he or she may continue to participate in the Alpha House program for as long as he or she is physically, mentally, and emotionally able to meet the basic requirements for the program. Alpha House will make referrals if hospitalization or other services are needed.
At least quarterly, a trained staff member will conduct an educational seminar, at least two hours long, with the entire resident population about HIV, and AIDS.
To see the complete policy, please click on Client Handbook