Macy’s Passport presents: GLAMORAMA
September 19, 2013, 8pm, at SHN Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco
The Macy’s Passport fundraiser: GLAMORAMA is about to take place in San Francisco, Thursday, September 19, and it promises an evening filled with fashion, fun, and live performances from Grammy Award-winning singer Sheryl Crow, the gravity-defying Cirque du Soleil, and pop rock quintet The Summer Set. It’s also a chance to support GLIDE Health Services, which has been a recipient of the annual Macy’s Passport since 2001. The fundraiser benefits three San Francisco non-profits focused on HIV Services, including the GLIDE Foundation, the AIDS Emergency Fund, and Project Open Hand. GLIDE’s effectiveness in providing HIV Prevention Services is built on a platform of community trust, a high-level of cultural competency by the staff, and GLIDE’s celebrated 50-year history in the Tenderloin neighborhood.
GLIDE HIV Services
HIV Services includes: HIV & Hep C Counseling, Testing and Referrals; Syringe Access Services; Community Outreach; Overdose Prevention Training.
HIV Services: Mondays – Thursdays 1:30pm to 4pm; Fridays 9am to 11:30am
Syringe Access Services: Mondays – Tuesdays 7:00pm to 9:00pm – in the GLIDE lobby
“We see so many people that make such huge changes in their lives,” says Alli Kraus, Syringe Access Coordinator at GLIDE. “I have one client who doesn’t even remember when I first met him, he was so incoherent. And now he’s really present. We do a ton of overdose prevention, and since I’ve been here he’s saved—as in, kept from dying—six people,” Kraus emphasizes. “He’s totally the kind of guy who’s on the street all the time, has been treated terribly, slept on the street, got his eyes kicked in. Six people in two years is just unbelievable by any measure. That, to me, shows so much that nobody should be discounted, and what anyone can accomplish, regardless of what we’re supposed to think about them.”
This level of dedication to helping people—from program participants, GLIDE employees, and consistent volunteers—is at the heart of GLIDE HIV Services, a part of the GLIDE Health Services program.
GLIDE HIV Services offers walk-in HIV and Hepatitis C counseling and testing, as well as overdose prevention training, syringe access and harm reduction services. The HIV Prevention Team operates Mondays through Thursdays from 1:30pm to 4pm and Fridays from 9am to 11:30am in Room 510, on the fifth floor of 330 Ellis St.
In collaboration with the GLIDE Daily Free Meals Program, the HIV Prevention Team also occasionally offers the same services on the first floor Thursdays and Fridays from 3pm to 5pm. This low threshold approach sits well with clients who are accessing the Meals Program, the Walk-In Center, the Health Clinic, or other GLIDE resources. Harkin estimates that providing services on the first floor allows them to test the same number of people in one day that they might get in one week on the fifth floor.
The Syringe Access Service takes place Monday and Tuesday evenings in the lobby of 330 Ellis St., from 7pm to 9pm. Here, volunteers talk with people coming in, while they put together kits that include clean paraphernalia, safe injection information, schedules for GLIDE’s programs, information on city-wide needle exchange programs, and a few Lifesavers candies in a paper bag.
Kraus estimates they will give these kits to about 30 people on-site, while she and the volunteers distribute safer injection kits to about 70 people, safer crack smoking kits to about 100 people, and safer sex kits to up to 150 people through street outreach in the Tenderloin each night they operate. They also educate approximately 13 people a month in overdose prevention training. So far in 2013, the program has almost doubled the number of people per month they provide resources to since 2012.
“Harm reduction is radically inclusive,” Kraus says. It’s in keeping with one of GLIDE’s core values of treating everyone who walks through the door with respect. “I definitely think we’re sort of a threshold service. Like when people talk about gateway drugs—harm reduction is very much like a gateway to self-care.”
The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) estimates around 1,000 to 2,000 HIV infected individuals reside in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood in which many high-risk groups converge. GLIDE HIV Services received SFDPH grant funding to test 300 individuals for HIV last year, yet they tested more than 600—only with the help of dedicated volunteers and employees who see a real need for HIV testing and health services in the Tenderloin.
“The Tenderloin is an HIV hotspot as defined by the SF HIV Prevention Plan,” says Paul Harkin, HIV Services Manager. “It’s an area where there’s high-risk sexual behaviors happening in concert with a lot of substance use. It’s also an area where we encounter a lot of crack smokers—and given some of the damaged and improvised pipes that people are using and sharing to smoke crack, we believe there is an increased risk of HIV and Hepatitis C transmission.”
Currently, the HIV Testing aspect of the program is only funded by the SFDPH to test high-risk groups, which the San Francisco HIV Prevention Planning Counsel has identified as gay and bi men, intravenous drug users, and transgender individuals. This excludes certain groups such as women who may be at risk, but don’t fall into these three categories. While all of the clinic patients at GLIDE Health Services can access HIV Testing – the drop-in testing is not able to test heterosexual men and women, and instead refers them to programs in the city (usually with private funding) that can test anyone.
“At GLIDE we have a history of making a little go a long way,” Harkin says. “However, I think most observers would agree that when it comes to HIV Prevention and Harm Reduction Services, GLIDE is an underfunded community asset that could do so much more—and we have to fight to get more money so that we can deliver the services that are needed for our community, which is made up of some of the most marginalized folks in our city.”
To donate, volunteer, or learn more about GLIDE’s HIV Services and Harm Reduction Services, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and check them out on glide.org, on Facebook: /glidehivservices and /glideharmreduction, and on Twitter @GLIDEHarmReduxn.
To buy tickets for Macy’s Glamorama fundraiser, visit them on macys.com/glamtickets. Be sure to choose GLIDE as your affiliated charity.