BAO recognizes the direct impact of HIV/AIDS on an individual's emotional and mental health and well-being. Research shows that individuals who maintain good mental and emotional health and stability, have better coping mechanisms to deal with the ongoing physical effects of a chronic disease. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health diagnoses found in people with HIV/AIDS. You are not alone. BAO offers two licensed counelors as well as support groups for women and men. Support groups meet weekly and have a catered lunch once a month.
It's important that our clients have reliable transporation to BAO, doctor's appointments, pharmacies, etc. BAO offers transporation assitance with gas vouchers and bus passes.
Imagine trying to navigate through our complicated healthcare system while being HIV positive with a limited income and no reliable transportation, and no health insurance. Case management is provided by BAO Social Workers to ensure that the individuals we serve are receiving the care they need to stay healthy and strong. Our Social Workers maintain close relationships with clients and healthcare providers so that they can connect all of the dots and ensure our clients have all the tools they need to maintain healthy and productive lives.
BAO is the only AIDS Service Organization in Alabama that offers free legal services for HIV positive individuals. Our legal department typically has over 100 open cases that include estate planning, marriages and divorces, child custody, social security hearings, discrimination issues, immigration issues, and working with inmates among other case types. The legal services program is funded by AIDS United. Each summer a legal intern is selected through a partnership with the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.
Nutrition is a key factor in maintaining health. BAO offers a food pantry where clients receive a 50 pound box of food each month. Nutritional supplments are also available for those who need them, as well as grocery store vouchers. Additionally, BAO provides clients with personal care products several times per year. Personal care products include soaps and detergents, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, etc.
P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Wonderful Support) is a unique partner program between BAO and the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. We understand that pets are part of the family and provide companionship for many of the folks we serve. With the help of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society and private donors, we ensure that our clients never have to worry about taking care of their pets by providing food. Vaccinations, spaying, and neutering, are also paid for by the Remy Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.
HIV meds are essential to maintain a healthy life for positive individuals. One of our priorities at BAO is ensuring that those we serve maintain adherence to their meds. With the help of the Ryan White CARE Act and other funding sources, BAO pays 100% of all prescriptions related to HIV as well as medical items our clients may need. Examples of medical items include eye glasses, hearing aids, orthopedic shoes, shower chairs, etc. For the small percentage of clients who have insurance, our Social Workers can assist them with co-pay assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.
Clothing & Home Goods
"C.E.'s Closet" is named after Mr. Charles Edward Watkins who volunteered in the BAO clothing department for many years. The clothing department is setup in department store fashion and also includes a home goods section. BAO is fortunate to receive high quality clothing donations including suits, cocktail attire, and leisure attire as well as shoes and winter items. Please consider donating your gently used clothes and home goods to BAO. Home goods include linens, blankets, flatware, and small appliances that our clients can easily take home.
A weekly GED Class is taught by volunteer Dr. Sally Smith of Montevallo University. Students meet every Tuesday for an afternoon of instruction with Sally. Anyone served by BAO may sign up for this free GED prep class.
The Adrien R. Daniels Holiday Gift Project was established in the 1990s. Mr. Daniels was a long time volunteer who enjoyed dressing as Santa and giving toys to the children of the BAO families. Each holiday season a large box of home care products is distributed to each of the adults served by BAO. Clients with children under the age of 18 may also participate in the program by submitting their child's wish list. Each child is "adopted" by local supporters and their wish list is fulfilled. Parents pick up their child's wish list items before Christmas so that Santa can visit their home on Christmas Eve.
Sisters In Style
Sisters In Style is a support group for HIV positive women that meets every Thursday at BAO. Their meeting room is full of sewing machines, fabric, and materials. The fun group of women teach each other how to sew and work on projects together. BAO supplies all materials and the women take home anything that they make. Guest speakers also visit with this group and lunch is provided at least once monthly.
Birmingham Acess To Care
Birmingham Access To Care is a unique program in partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Johns Hopkins University, and is funded by AIDS United. The program employees a team of Social Workers, Researchers, and Community Outreach Workers to identify and locate HIV Positive individuals who have dropped out of healtcare, with a goal of reingaging them in healthcare. Positive individuals who are not in healthcare are more likely to spread HIV to others, and more likely to become infected with other diseases. The overall goal of the program is to reduce the community viral load and reduce the number of new HIV infections.
Brother to Brother
Brother to Brother is a weekly support group for HIV positive men that means every Friday at BAO. The men gather, play games, have lunch, and discuss things that they are going through in life. Guest speakers often visit and talk with the men about issues facing HIV positive individuals, and healthy life styles.
The following is a general description of client services at BAO available to all eligible* BAO clients.
Services change periodically due to changes in resources. No direct payments can be made to a client.
Services by Appointment
Food & Personal Supplies - food once per month and personal supplies as available
Clothing Department - appointment times vary based on season
Counseling - available for individuals, couples or families by Licensed Therapist
Legal Services - available for HIV positive individuals by Licensed Attorney
Case Management Updates - required every 12 months; make appointment early to avoid lapse in service
Case Plan/Eligibility Reviews - required every 6 months; make appointment early to avoid lapse in service
Walk-In Service Hours are weekdays 10.00 AM - 11.30 PM and 12.30 PM - 4.00 PM, except Wednesdays, 2.30 PM - 6.00 PM.
Transportation – available once per week for appointments during the prior 7 days
Written verification of attendance required
Destinations limited to medically necessary appointments
Medication or Medical Items Assistance - prescription or letter required
Nutritional Supplements - Prescription required
Pet Food provided by Greater Birmingham Humane Society - monthly sign-up required; supplies are limited
Pet Spay/Neuter programs provided by The Remy Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and Greater Birmingham Humane Society - copay may be required; only client’s pets
Sisters In Style – weekly support group for HIV positive women, Thursday mid-day includes quilting, sewing, socialization, monthly lunches, activities
Brother-to-Brother – weekly support group for HIV positive men, Friday 11.30 AM - 1.00 PM
HIV Testing – OraSure and OraQuick available, free of charge and confidential
GED Classes – Tuesday 1.00 PM - 3.00 PM, offered for clients and their families
Referrals – available from Social Worker/Case Manager; list of resources available at front desk
Client must be HIV positive - all other current or past health conditions do not affect eligibility
Client's file must remain up to date, including all required documents
Client lives in or receives HIV medical care in Jefferson County, Alabama
Client is a full-time resident of Alabama
Client meets current income requirements which can vary by funder
Client has no other available resource to meet the needed service
If Client is suspended by BAO, no services will be provided for duration of suspension
Provide one time only: Letter signed by M.D. stating that client is HIV positive and needs case management support services to maintain stability
Provide every 6 months: Photo ID, Proof of Income, Proof of Alabama Residency, Health Insurance Card