Mission: Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Inc. is a community-based wellness organization committed to improving the overall health and wellbeing of marginalized individuals and communities. AHRC provides education, risk reduction programs through partnerships, to empower adults in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of; substance use, HIV/AIDS, STIs, Hepatitis, and other communicable diseases.
Geographic areas served: Metro Atlanta
Programs: For ending year, december 31, 2014, ahrc operated the following programs:(i)hiv testing and linkage program: ahrc provides hiv testing, counseling, and linkage to care to individuals that reside in fulton and dekalb county. Ahrc is particularly dedicated to serving individuals that engage in high-risk behaviors such as substance use, sex work, and homelessness. Ahrc wants to specifically enhance hiv-positive individuals linkage to care, provide risk-reduction education, create a safe support group and offer intensive one-on-one case management services by a trained staff. During the one-on-one case management sessions, ahrc will assess the client's full range of needs and then link them to care and services from within ahrc's partnership network. This goes beyond referrals. The ahrc case manager will work with the clients to address barriers to utilization that interfere with that person accessing services such as lack of transportation, economic hardships, improper documentation and other obstacles that the trained and experienced case manager can effectively navigate. (ii)prevention point: ahrcs prevention point needle exchange program is designed for high-risk persons impacted by substance addiction, especially african americans who are disproportionately impacted by hiv and communicable diseases. This program targets active substance and sex workers on the corners of james p. Brawley and jett streets in northwest atlanta, an area where members of the target population congregate. The program goals are to reduce the harm of transmission of hiv/aids, hepatitis c through education, prevention intervention (condom and literature distribution) and other resources that plant the seeds toward behavior change. The proposed efforts will support the organization to address the syringe exchange and health promotion needs of idu, sex workers who use drugs, alcoholics and those re-entering from prison/jail who revert to old behaviors. (iii)advocacy: ahrcs advocacy project is to pursue "specific" policy improvements or law reform to protect and advance the rights, health, and dignity of persons living with and affected by hiv/aids. Also, the advocacy project has developed a speaker network which helps educate policy makers. (iv) 911 medical amnesty law and naloxone access program: after the former 2014 hb 965 was signed into law [o. C. G. A. 16-13-5] on april 24, 2014, ahrc has been educating the public about the 911 medical amnesty [or 911 good samaritan] law and distributing naloxone kits for reversing opioid overdoses to those in need. (v) hepatitis c prevention program: hepatitis c prevention program is a comprehensive program that aims at prevention and treatment of hcv through offering guidelines to individuals in identifying their hepatitis c status, providing education and helping in facilitate behavior changes that will reduce their risk of acquiring or transmitting the hepatitis c virus, and providing support groups and linkage to care for hepatitis c positive individuals.
I cannot stress enough how terrible this organization has become. To be truthful, I haven't had anything to do with them since Terry left as the director. And that's not because I didn't try, but rather because my efforts were not welcome.
After having Terry and Mona come to my house to educate me about proper injection methods, I started to do outreach to other Gay/Lesbians in Atlanta that I knew were injecting meth. In addition to referring dozens of people to the AHRC when Terry was running it, I also collected and distributed needles through some of the on-line hookup sites.
When Terry left, I had collected around 1200 needles. They were all being stored in sharps containers and bleach, but they were none the less a huge liability for me to have sitting around my apartment. When I finally got ahold of someone at AHRC, I was informed that they had changed office locations and to my surprise, they were about 5 houses away from me. I was told that Terry was replaced and the woman with whom I spoke indicated that she was the new director and things were changing.
I explained, in great detail, how I had been providing outreach to a population not presently focused on by AHRC and explained that I had 1200 needles that I needed to exchange. I explained that I didn't need 1200 in return, but rather a box of 100 or two would be great for a month. I was willing to meet her any day of the week at any time.
She flat refused. With the nastiest and most self-righteous tone I have ever heard, she told me that if I wanted to do an exchange, I had to go to one of their street exchanges that may or may not happen every other Saturday. The problem was the locations were in a part of town that is patently not safe. Especially for gay white males. I tried and tried for over 3 months to get her to help me...to refer me to another organization that could take the needles, to refer me to the location that they drop off their exchanges.
Nothing worked. She refused to help me or the 500+ men/women that I was providing outreach for. And she was literally 500 feet from my house. It was obvious to me and to anyone who read our email conversation which I will make public, that her motivation was race-related and that she was not going to make ANY special considerations for anyone...especially not some white boy.
Terry Morris was an absolute angel and the AHRC Saved my life and was doing a great job of helping hundreds of gays/lesbians to be safe when using speed. All of that stopped and all outreach to the gay/lesbian community stopped. I have contacted the national headquarters repeatedly with no response.
I’ve been coming since the center opened. I was on the street until I started coming to AHRC and getting encouraged and help with life skills. AHRC is helpful with the community for both men and women. I have told people to come to the center and get services like their ID, birth certificate, hygiene kits. I tell other women that I work with they can get condoms anytime and tested for HIV. The organization has been doing a great job with the homeless; letting them take baths and have clean clothes. I am very grateful for Atlanta Harm Reduction. They helped me get a scholarship to go to a harm reduction conference in Las Vegas.