The first and most progressive AIDS service organization in Kansas was formed in 1985 by a group of volunteers right here in Topeka. Positive Connections, formerly known as Topeka AIDS Project, is a community based organization that advocates for and provides comprehensive services to people living in Northeast Kansas who are impacted by HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections or Hepatitis C. In 2011, Topeka AIDS Project changed their name to Positive Connections to reflect the wider focus and service region, while also protecting an image steeped in stigma, hoping to make clients more comfortable. Last year, Positive Connections provided medical case management and prevention services to 17 counties in Northeast Kansas, serving over 200 people living with HIV with assistance and advocacy to help them better communicate with doctors, obtain medications and adhere to treatment regimens.
PREVENTION IS KEY
Prevention is key, and Positive Connection services include rapid HIV testing, sexual health education programs, outreach to high-risk populations, and condom distribution. Although rapid testing is not available, Positive Connections also tests for syphilis, Hepatitis C, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. These tests require either a blood draw or a urine sample.
Stop by The Break Room, The Dutch Goose, The Trap, Mabee Library, and several other local distributors of condoms thanks to Positive Connections. Even better, go to Positive Connections website and order condoms, oral/dental dams, lubricants and non-latex options. You can stop by their office or have your goodies sent directly to your Kansas address.
The Positive Connections food pantry is open to case management clients thanks to the generosity of friends at Reser’s Fine Foods and Harvesters Community Food Network. If you’d like to donate, the greatest ongoing needs are for high-protein items (peanut butter, canned meats, and fish) cases of Boost/Ensure supplements, personal hygiene items, and pet foods.
BOOK AN EDUCATOR
Positive Connections’ varied Prevention programs are designed to reduce future HIV and STD infections in the community by raising awareness, educating about risks, overcoming misconceptions, and providing individuals with the knowledge and tools to make safer, healthier choices.
Prevention educators provide tailored presentations to different sectors of the community, including public schools and universities, youth groups, correctional facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other providers of social services. Presentations range from short “HIV 101” programs to more comprehensive sex and sexuality programs that go into depth about risks and prevention tools for HIV, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies. Educators work with each group to develop presentations that are age- and experience-appropriate while covering the necessary content.
WHAT’S YOUR STATUS?
In addition to in-office testing, Positive Connections provides free HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis C testing in outreach settings, if there is a confidential space to conduct the tests. Positive Connections is unable to provide rapid HIV testing in most outreach settings; however, the staff will notify you of your test results. In both in-office and outreach settings, Positive Connections’ staff will help you assess your risks for STI infection and develop strategies to reduce those risks. We are unable to offer gonorrhea or chlamydia testing in outreach settings.
All of this is made possible by the generous, ongoing donations from people like you. If you haven’t attended the TAP Gala in the past, then you must. The amazing evening is hands down the best gala you’ll attend all year, trust us. Complete with costumes, fabulous games, live and silent auctions (that aren’t so silent), great food and a fun and unique booze auction, it’s a Party For A Cause you won’t want to miss.