Stepping up to the challenge
“Red Rock’s biggest challenge in being an ASO is the need to continually keep up to date on the most recent changes or improvements in the HIV field,” Michael Maus, HIV prevention educator, told The Gayly.
“Red Rock steps up to this challenge to make sure that we are always in the right place at the right time with the right person or population delivering the most relevant information and providing the highest quality service.”
Maus provides many different services to the community as a part of Red Rock Behavioral Health Services and their AIDS Service Organization (ASO). There you can receive free, confidential Rapid HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis tests. All that is required is a finger stick and a 20-minute wait.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia testing are also provided privately and for free. For these tests, however, a urine sample is needed and results come back in two weeks. No appointment is necessary for any of these tests.
Red Rock tests approximately 55 people for HIV alone during the average month. On top of that, they test an additional 30 for hepatitis C, syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia.
“One of the greatest things is the feeling I get by knowing that we are helping people to find out their status either poz or neg,” Adrian Soto, HIV prevention educator noted. Testing provided by Red Rock extends beyond a positive or negative reading.
“If neg, good; but if poz, we get to help them get a case manager to help them go through everything and making sure they know that by taking medication they can live a long life. It’s not a death sentence anymore.”
“The greatest thing I find in my work is how liberated people can feel when they find out their HIV status. It is extremely fulfilling to help them with that process,” said Maus. “The outcomes I see from this process are happier, more liberated people that have a greater chance of living less stressful and healthier lives.”
Funding for these services is provided through grants by the Oklahoma State Department of Health as well as AIDS Walk OKC. They also help provide condom and HIV prevention education services to the community, as well as free condoms.
Operating as an ASO and STD testing site is not all that Red Rock provides. They are active in many corners of the Oklahoma City community. “Red Rock provides outreach within the injection-drug-use community and within the Oklahoma City homeless population,” Maus explained. “Additionally, Red Rock provides outreach to consumers and organizations dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues.”
Those seeking out the services Red Rock provides can find them at two different locations. The location at Expressions Community Center, 2245 NW 39th St, Oklahoma City, OK, is for patients looking for a more casual atmosphere and community and peer support. Contact them at (405) 528-2210.
The other location is Red Rock Behavioral Health Services’ office, 4400 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, Okla. It offers a more clinical environment for patients looking for a private location away from their community. Contact them at (405) 424-7711. More information is available at www.red-rock.com.
Copyright The Gayly – December 8, 2017 @ 7:20 a.m. CST.