Hope & Help Center expands clinic services, hosts Orlando AIDS Walk at Lake Eola

By : Randa Griffin
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ORLANDO | The Hope & Help Center of Central Florida held a grand re-opening Jan. 26 to unveil their new building and expansion of LGBTQ health services. The center added a medical clinic to their services where clients can receive primary care, screening, treatment and urgent care for medical issues.

The center has expanded its fight against STDs by offering a full panel of testing. The clinic offers services for people in the transgender community as well.

“We’re no longer just a place of care for people living with HIV. We offer care outside of that as well. We’re open to the entire community,” says Joshua Myers, Hope & Help’s community development director.

Following the path of other LGBTQ centers that offer HIV support, Hope & Help is expanding on the services they already offer. Clients are able to meet with a medical practitioner, a mental health provider, a case manager, health educator and a pharmacist.

“We are one step closer to becoming a one-stop shop for our clients to get all of their wellness needs met in one trip,” said Executive Director Lisa Barr in a press release.

Joey Knoll, an advanced registered nurse practitioner, has worked in the Orlando community supporting transgender health and has now joined Hope & Help.

“He’s very well respected, very knowledgeable and very experienced. By combining his experience with Hope & Help, we’re really going to make some strong and impactful changes,” says Myers.

Clients are able to schedule appointments for a visit with Noel during the clinics normal hours, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Along with new health and wellness services, the center’s grand re-opening also debuted a new building. The new building is much bigger, providing more opportunity for Hope & Help to host events, and reach out to the community.

“It’s about 50 percent bigger than our previous location,” says Myers. “It’s a much better location, a much nicer building and with the way the building is set up and the different rooms available, we’re able to offer people in the community an open door.”

Case managers at Hope & Help can assist clients with legal issues, housing trouble and maintaining healthy relationships. The center also has an emergency food pantry and a pharmacy.

Continuing their community involvement, Hope & Help held the 2018 AIDS Walk at Lake Eola Feb. 3.

News 6’s Julie Broughton, Troy Bridges and Steve Montiero hosted. Also attending were Pride Radio’s Ricky and Sondra Rae, as well as Pulse Nightclub owner Barbara Poma.

Attendees were encouraged to dress as their favorite celebrities for the mile-long walk around Lake Eola. More than 500 walkers attended and helped raise $43,500 which will go to assist Hope & Help with its HIV/AIDS services including free testing, community education initiatives and case management.

“This year’s AIDS Walk was a success in that we expanded the festivities of the event with more food trucks, vendors, activities for kids and more education about our services,” Myers says. “The celebrity theme shines a light on the fact that Orlando is famous for being sixth in the nation for most new HIV infections and at the same time brings attention to the need for increased HIV free screenings offered through Hope & Help.”

According to the CDC, Florida has the second highest number of HIV diagnoses in the country.

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