Open Door Health Center of Illinois – Elgin and Aurora, IL

(light instrumental music) – Open Door was started
about 40 years ago and when our first client
came in to get tested for a sexually
transmitted infection. From that time, we
were able to provide counseling services to
them to reduce their risk. From that, when there was
a test developed for HIV, we thought it would
make perfect sense for us to start testing for HIV. Along the way, people’s
needs started to grow. People didn’t wanna
go into Chicago and they kept telling us that, “We want services here
in Elgin and in Aurora.” – A unique way of treating
people at Open Door. As an agency we try to
treat people as a whole. We have a circular
model of medicine where the client is at
the middle, in the middle, with all the services that
they may need around them. So, we try to do a holistic
approach to medicine. In the early
intervention services, we use a pure base
model to provide early intervention services, which means the people that
are providing those services are also people that
are living with HIV. So they can help maybe
somebody that’s newly diagnosed or somebody’s that’s
having some issues with engaging in care kind
of navigate that system and have some insight onto it
that maybe that their provider or their case
manager may not have. – Treatment at Open Door
is slightly different than if you go to
a private doctor. Here we have behavioral
health therapists. We have nutrition. We have case management. We have prevention services. So everyone is assigned
a team when they come in. So, you will see the
doctor, the same doctor, every time that you come in. Most of the time, you
will have your nurse, your medical assistant, any
other support individuals that dependent on what your
treatment plans dictates. – My test came back positive. So, and it was just, at
first it’s hard to swallow, but doctors were really
quick to reassure me. And then, I’m lucky, I
got to be here in Elgin. And then we have
the Open Door here. Usually you gotta go far
for something like this. And this is 10 years ago. So, at the Open Door and
it’s down on Chicago Street in the big, huge, old
building, the big, old offices. But, yeah, I’ve been coming here and then we got this
new location up here
and it’s awesome. If anything this is the
place to be right here. – I think the Open
Door clinics helped me because when he told me
that he was HIV positive, I’d have to say I was full
of anxiety and scared. He took me right
to the clinic and I talked to one of the,
what is the case managers? And they reassured me
about the condition, taught me about it. There was things I didn’t know. I instantly assumed
that I would get it because like everyone
else they’re scared. But I don’t have it. – And you won’t get it. – And I won’t get it. – Serodiscordant couples,
we have individuals who come in for services
who one’s negative, the other one’s positive. We wanna make sure that that negative partner
stays negative. – Our client advisor committee
is a group of clients that provide input
to our programs and services here at Open Door. They also do a lot of outreach in speaking in the community. And they organize events
throughout the year, like we have bowling
events three times a year what the client advisory
committee organizes. And it’s free for clients,
the friends and family. They also do a holiday party
and we work with a church in Geneva that helps
us with a family picnic in the middle of August. So our client advisory
committee is very active in planning events
for our clients to kind of address those
issues of stigma and isolation that people living
with HIV may face. – Open Door recently
found out that our clients were homeless and so
we needed to address the housing needs
of our patients. In doing so, we were able
to get additional funding to help us to house people. If people lack housing, then
they are not going to attend to their health care needs,
taking their medications, and seeing their doctors. So we see housing
as health care. – Open Door health
center it has expanded to focus on housing
because we see a need in the HIV positive population
for housing services. There’s a correlation
between stable housing and viral suppression. And so housing, if we can get
our clients stably housed, then we can work on getting
them virally suppressed, which then will help us
reach the ultimate goal of zero people newly infected
and hopefully someday, zero people with HIV. – What I’m most
proud of at Open Door is our ability to integrate
ourselves within a community. So we’re going out there
and we’re talking to folks and we’re making sure that
they understand who we are. And again, we’re kind of
peeling off the stigma of what Open Door does. – I see us continuing to
increase our service lines. Getting more people housed. Getting more people
pre-exposure prophylaxis so that we can get
to functional zero. So that there are no new
infections out in Kane county. (light instrumental music)

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