About

Brothers Health Collective (BHC)

Brothers Health Collective (BHC) a peer lead, 501(c) (3), not for profit organization was formed in 2006 by volunteers to fill the gaps in services in prevention, care, and to advocate for Integrated Counseling, Testing, and Linkage to Care Services for Black men and their intimate partners in Cook County, Chicago, and the surrounding metropolitan collar counties.  BHC, is a level 3, CDC defined PCSI (Program Collaboration and Service Integration) organization located on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois. The organization manages a peer supported model.

Since BHC’s inception, the organizers, while continuing in their primary work positions, used their considerable influence to build a network of support for BHC. The organizational members have established a platform that formed the basic foundation of BHC, its ongoing mission and programming activities.

LENS

In 2012, Brothers Health Collective (BHC) was funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Minority Health Services, to launch Project Link, Educate, Navigate, and Submit eligible applications to the Illinois AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (LENS). LENS serves as another preventative installment dosage of the BHC’s mission, vision and strategic plan to increase health equity to those burdened by HIV/AIDS. This innovative project is founded on the principles of the Health Resource Service Administration’s (HRSA) evidenced based models of care; Peer Health Navigation and ARTAS (Anti-Retroviral Treatment and Access to Services (ARTAS). The sole purpose of LENS is to 1) increase enrollment to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, 2) identify primary care medical homes those persons living with HIV/AIDS and not visiting a primary care physician or a Ryan White case manager and 3) actively increase access to Anti-Retroviral Treatment regiments to reduce patient viral loads.

The LENS program is managed by Treatment Adherence Navigators (TANS) who patiently engage people living with HIV/AIDS by providing a platform whereby they can offer their personal experiences, challenges, knowledge, insight and solutions to solving defective linkages to ADAP and other programs such as CHIC (Continuation of Health Insurance Coverage Program).   Our goal is to walk each applicant’s application through the ADAP process system to assure 100% eligible enrollment within 72 hours of submission. 

Please call 312-226-0050 if you’d like more information or to schedule an appointment to meet with a Treatment Adherence Navigator. 

Prevention With Positives History:

In 2010, BHC served as a minority and community based partner of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Project Identify, Navigate, Connect, Access, Retain, and Evaluate (IN-CARE) network. IN-CARE is a multi-agency, multifaceted intervention model to facilitate access to and retention in HIV health care. In addition to usual care (testing, case management, and medical services), program clients will have access to an array of new, specialized care-retention services made available thanks to the AIDS United’s Positive Charge grant. Project LENS serves as an enhanced extension of the IN-CARE program by navigating HIV-positive clients to evidence-based individual level interventions such as ARTAS and Healthy Relationships to build one’s resiliency, knowledge, and self-efficacy skills necessary to sustaining access to care.

In 2011, BHC was awarded a contracted with the Illinois Department Of Public Health to launch FREE TO SPEAK. A program designed to provide support to HIV positive Men Who Have Sex With Men who struggle with HIV/AIDS disclosure. The program is a replication of the CDC approved Effective Intervention - Healthy Relationships.

In 2011, BHC was awarded a contracted with the Illinois Department Of Public Health to launch VIBES. A homegrown intervention program designed to provide support to Young HIV positive Men Who Have Sex With Men. The program is a group level intervention. In 2011, BHC was awarded a contract with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to launch C-Links. C-Links is a routine testing program designed to increase awareness of Hepatitis-C infection amongst HIV positive individuals and to link them confirmatory screenings, treatment and care.

In 2012, BHC was awarded a contracted with the Illinois Department Of Public Health to launch the Black Oasis Institute (BOI). BOI is designed to support linkage to mental health wellness services.

In 2012, BHC was awarded a contracted with the Illinois Department Of Public Health to administer the public health strategy Surveillance Based Partner Services and Notification to diagnosed co-infected HIV – + individuals also living with either Syphilis, Gonorrhea or Chlamydia and their sexual or needle sharing partners.

Health Equity

BHC's toolbox efforts to improve the health of populations disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS by maximizing the health impact of public health services, reducing disease prevalence, and promoting health equity. Health disparities in HIV are inextricably linked to a complex blend of social determinants that influence populations most severely affected by this disease. Health equity is a desirable goal that entails special efforts to improve the health of those who have experienced social or economic disadvantage. Due to this awareness, BHC toolbox includes epidemiologic and social determinants data provided by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Chicago Department Of Public Health (CDPH) to identify communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and related diseases and conditions within our jurisdictions. In addition to collaboration with our community partners, BHC considers social determinants of health in the development, implementation, and evaluation of program specific efforts and consistently utilizes culturally appropriate interventions that are tailored for the communities for which they are intended, especially BMSM.

Social determinants of health affect disparities in HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STI and TB. Studies have shown that HIV-infected persons with low literacy levels had less general knowledge of their disease and disease management and were more likely to be non-adherent to treatment than those with higher literacy. BMSM at lower income levels are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors that put them at greater risk for acquiring STIs, compared to BMSM with higher income levels. In addition, income was shown to be an important predictor of a lack of health insurance among persons with HIV and consequently may be a reason why they are less likely to receive treatment. Environmental factors such as housing conditions, social networks, and social support are also key drivers for infection with HIV, viral Hepatitis, STIS, and TB. For example, a study among housed and homeless persons with HIV infection found that homeless persons had poorer health status, were less adherent to medication regimens, were more likely to be uninsured, and were more likely to have been hospitalized.



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