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Lee Health to offer free workshop on HIV self-management

By LEE HEALTH - | May 12, 2021

More than 1.2 million people in the United States have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Lee County, the Florida Department of Health estimates about 2,300 community members are living with HIV, and that number continues to grow.

Lee Health is offering a free self-management program in partnership with McGregor Community Services. The six-week workshop is focused on education and awareness.

“There is a need for this kind of a program in our community, and at Lee Health, we want to meet that need,” Chronic Health Program Coordinator Sharon Krispinsky said. “That’s why we’re offering a free workshop designed to teach a variety of tools to actively self-manage this condition. The workshop is for those living with HIV and their loved ones.”

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, and if not treated, can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). While there is no cure for HIV, with proper medical care, it can be controlled and managed. People with HIV who get effective treatment can live long, healthy lives.

The McGregor Clinic is one of the largest providers of HIV care in Southwest Florida. McGregor Community Services is a division of the clinic that offers different services to the community through their free HIV rapid testing, education, mobile unit outreach and community mobilization. Its team members have volunteered to teach the self-management workshop.

Through the program, originally developed by Stanford University, participants will learn how to:

– Live with a chronic condition

– More easily manage your medications

– Understand the benefits of exercise

– Make smarter decisions related to healthy eating

– Work more effectively with health professionals

– Understand ways to manage difficult emotions

– Improve your sleep through different methods and tools

“The techniques taught in this class are proven to help those with HIV successfully manage their condition,” Amy Zamot, prevention director at The McGregor Clinic, said. “Those with HIV and their loved ones who attend the workshop will meet and gain support from others, which is so important in self-management of the virus.”

Virtual and in-person sessions are offered throughout the year. Participants will be in small confidential groups, and the classes will be lively and interactive. The next virtual workshop is May 19 to June 23.

For more information or to register, call 239-343-9264.