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Teen Outreach Mobile Clinic helps youth find a permanent medical home

Editor's sote: In the weeks leading up to AIDS Walk & Run San Diego in September, SDGLN will profile some of the HIV/AIDS service organizations that directly benefit from the event's fundraising efforts.

SAN DIEGO -- For more than two decades, AIDS Walk & Run San Diego has been raising money for HIV/AIDS service organizations and increasing awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Thousands of community members from all walks of life come together each year to participate in what is San Diego's largest single-day HIV/AIDS fundraiser.

Because of the collective effort of the more than 8,000 runners and walkers, AIDS Walk San Diego, through its partnership with the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative, was able to grant over $500,000 to local HIV/AIDS service organizations. The 13 grantee organizations provide a variety of essential services to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.

One such organization is Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD). For 14 years, FHCSD has operated its Teen Outreach Mobile Clinic to provide outreach to homeless, runaway and at-risk youth in central San Diego.

Many Hillcrest residents and visitors may notice the "bus" that the mobile clinic operates out of every Thursday evening parked at the corner of Richmond and University Ave. Youth between the ages of 12 and 24 who visit the clinic are able to access medical care, health information, HIV/STI screening, and receive referrals.

The clinic is staffed by outreach workers, an HIV testing counselors and physicians from UCSD medical center who provide acute and preventive care services, while focusing on increased access to HIV and STI screening and primary care.

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one of the primary goals of the San Diego Teen Outreach Mobile Clinic is to work with youth to establish a permanent medical home. Because of increased usage, the clinic now operates in three different locations around San Diego, three nights a week.

During each four hour session, the clinic typically provides services to 15 to 35 youths.

The report said that by meeting the youths’ health needs on the street, the goal is to establish a relationship with the young people, and ultimately help them integrate into more traditional health care service sites.

For more information about Family Health Centers of San Diego, click HERE.

AIDS Walk & Run San Diego will be held at 8 am Sunday, Sept. 25, in Balboa Park. For more information or to register, click HERE.