Prism Health North Texas is pleased to announce the expansion of its Free World Bound (FWB) program, working with ethnic minority individuals who are living with or are at risk for HIV and who are currently or previously incarcerated. The program provides HIV prevention services and linkage to medical care to help them succeed within society. Established in 2001 and currently available in 30 Texas prisons, the program has recently received two grants enabling statewide expansion to interested prisons.
The two grants awarded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are the CDC PS21-2102 and the CDC PS20-2011. The PS21-2102 will be implemented by providing funds for high impact prevention services for the soon-to-be released incarcerated and previously incarcerated adult reentry population in the Dallas Health Services Delivery Area. The goal is to reduce the number of people diagnosed with HIV, to increase access to care, to optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV, and to reduce HIV related health disparities.
The PS20-2011 grant expands the FWB program statewide, targeting areas including Dallas County, Tarrant County, and now, Travis County, Harris County, Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Bexar County, and counties in the Rio Grande border areas. The grant aims to improve timely identification of persons living with HIV (PLWH) not linked to medical care, to improve timely connection to and continuity of HIV medical care for PLWH released by Texas prisons, and increase receipt of HIV prevention services including PrEP, by HIV negative partners and associates of persons with HIV released from Texas prisons by 85%.
“The additional funding to implement a statewide program for HIV+ persons released from Texas prisons will have a huge impact on linkage to care efforts across the state,” Daron Kirven, PHNTX Senior Director of Community Outreach said. “The State’s Ending HIV Plan specifically identified the need to improve synergy among different systems to positively impact HIV prevention and we are proud to work to directly meet that need.”
In addition to linking the incarcerated individuals to medical care and providing HIV and STI testing, Free World Bound provides assistance with referrals to essential services, linkage to social services, procurement of HIV medication or PrEP, housing and transportation, behavioral health services, emergency financial assistance, and with HIV, STI, and substance misuse prevention education. Process and outcome evaluation will be integrated into all phases of the project to ensure that stated objectives are on track to be achieved.
“When being released from incarceration, healthcare can fall by the wayside as there is so much uncertainty regarding housing, food, transportation, employment, etc.,” Kirven added. “By working to address all of these needs, we aim to set them up for success upon release. We are proud to reach more incarcerated Texans with these grants.”
To learn more about Free World Bound, click here.