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Specific Population and the Advocate Role

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Autor:   •  January 7, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  560 Words (3 Pages)  •  945 Views

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Specific Population and the Advocate Role

In the early 1980's a strange and unidentified disease appeared in the United States that we now know as HIV/AIDS. In its early years, those suffering from this disease experienced stigma, discrimination, or physical violence and faced numerous challenges of accessing housing, medical treatment, and supportive services. Over the years, the role of the advocate has played an important role in reducing barriers to care for those infected with HIV/AIDS. In this paper I will present my definition of an advocate, followed by a discussion on how I can help an HIV positive individual with housing, medical treatment and supportive services.

What is an Advocate?

Before one can start helping, one must understand what an advocate is and what he or she does. An advocate is essentially an individual "who acts in support of an interested party during negotiations, litigation, or another conflict resolution process" (Barksy, 2007). These individuals range from friends and family to licensed professionals with a common goal-to help someone access services.

The services of an advocate crosses a broad spectrum which is dependent on what kind of advocacy one needs (AdvoConnection, 2011). For example, if individual needs help navigating a complicated health care system, one may access a Patient Services Advocate. Another person who may need assistance in applying for public benefit may pursue services from an eligibility advocate; thus, these individual advocates are skilled in an area that potentially generates a positive outcome for the client.

Advocacy and HIV/AIDS

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has created a numerous barriers for those infected with the virus while concurrently creating opportunity for advocacy. As mentioned earlier, those infected with HIV/AIDS experienced numerous issues from access to housing opportunities to medical treatment to supportive services.

To address these issues, my plan is to first create a safe environment for HIV/AIDS positive individuals to access services by providing cultural appropriate training that reduces stigma through staff and client education opportunities. An advocate should take each opportunity to educate as well as advocate for the client they serve. Access to medical treatment and supportive services can be addressed by pursuing providers funded under the Ryan White Care Act (Target Center, n.d). Providers under the Care Act have multiple access points to help positive individual's access health care, nutrition assistance, medications, housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, continuous follow up.

As an advocate, networking with other community providers is another avenue to help clients access needed services. Through community networking, new connection can be made, relationships develop,

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