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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Leading the Fight Against HIV/AIDS: Our nonprofit spotlight showcases the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS

May 31, 2015 01:34PM ● By By Eric Sells

“When you make an appointment with me, I immediately become part of your tribe, and will bring everything I’ve learned as a physician to improve my patient’s health and well-being,” says Naturopathic Physician Carolyn Fuller, director of wellness at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, illustrating the commitment that practitioners at the center deliver to their clients.

The Phoenix-based nonprofit is the largest clinical trial, education, behavioral health and nutrition support center dedicated to fighting HIV and AIDS in the Southwestern United States. Now celebrating their 25-year anniversary, they accomplish their goals by reducing infection, improving quality of life and contributing to worldwide research.

Starting in June, Fuller is helping expand the overall wellness services at the center by offering primary and naturopathic medical care for everyone, as well as transgender and gender spectrum health services.

Existing programs and services include leading-edge medical research through the largest privately funded, nonprofit, HIV clinical trials site in the Southwest; educational programs, including group and individual instruction for men, women and youth infected or affected by HIV/AIDS; HIV prevention programs for men, women, youth, and transgender individuals.

Wellness services include nutritional consultations, naturopathic medicine and an on-site vitamin shop; and emotional support for HIV-positive individuals, their friends and families. Family support services encompass child watch, family camp and social activities for families living with HIV/AIDS; and community outreach to underserved populations to provide connection to HIV services.

Southwest Center provided direct holistic services and programs to approximately 9,700 people in 2014, and administers about 2,800 HIV tests annually. In addition, the center partners with the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture to provide free acupuncture services, and soon will also offer homeopathic services. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine provides free acupuncture and naturopathic consultations and Southwest Institute of Healing Arts provides reflexology, Reiki, guided meditation and cranial/polarity therapy. Payment for services at Southwest Center is on a sliding scale for all income levels, and free walk-in HIV testing is available weekdays. The center’s funding comes from donors, as well as federal, state and county resources.

“One of the greatest challenges of an HIV diagnosis is a high level of stress, depression and anxiety that can follow,” says John Welch, director of prevention and intervention services. He cites the center’s extensive wrap-around services as a big advantage for a patient’s overall well-being, ranging from informal, peer-led services to formal services like medical care, nutrition, case management, behavioral health and more. He adds, “No matter how they enter our services, there’s something for everyone here.”

The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS is located at 1101 N. Central Ave., Ste. 200, in Phoenix. For more information, call 602-307-5330 or visit swhiv.org.

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