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HRSA Awards $400,000 Dental Grant
 
 
  Grant to fund dental care for people with HIV/AIDS
Sunday, September 10, 2006 1:10 PM CDT
 
By ASHLEY GARDNER
Texarkana Gazette
 
Special Health Resources has received a grant for $400,000 per year for the next five years to help people with HIV or AIDS get better access to health care.
 
For the next five years, the grant will be used to provide specialized dental care to people with HIV in a 23-county area in Northeast Texas.
 
"This grant will be able to provide ... more detailed dental services for HIV positive people in our region. We were having to take people to Baylor in Dallas, but now we will be able to have these procedures performed here," said Joey Pack, regional coordinator for Special Health Resources in Texarkana. "It will save a lot of time and money. Our clients don't want to have to take a six-hour round trip from Texarkana. Instead of having to take our clients to Dallas, Dallas will be coming here."
 
This funding will enable more dental services to be provided locally, which will eliminate the current waiting list, according to a press release from Special Health Resources.
 
"We have the full dental set-up here, so the dentist will be able to come here and perform root canals, extractions and make dentures," Pack said.
 
The funds were awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant is one of 15 awards given out across the nation, according to Michelle Verser, client services director for Special Health.
 
"It is a special project of national significance which will provide a model for other programs across the U.S. The goal is to fully integrate dental and oral health care with primary care services for HIV infected people," Verser said.
 
Pack said people with HIV have the same dental needs as everyone else but it's more difficult to find dentists who are comfortable doing the work.
 
"Most of our local dentist are a little more uncomfortable with providing dental care," Pack said.
 
Special Health Resources, which also has an office in Longview, Texas, provides testing for HIV, syphilis and Hepatitis C. On a larger scale, the organization provides services to people living with HIV, including medical care, lab work, housing assistance, drug and alcohol counseling, transportation, nutritional assistance and utility assistance.
 
Special Health Resources, which also has an office in Longview, Texas, provides testing for HIV, syphilis and Hepatitis C. On a larger scale, the organization provides services to people living with HIV, including medical care, lab work, housing assistance, drug and alcohol counseling, transportation, nutritional assistance and utility assistance.
 
"For anybody that tests positive, we're really able to give them the assistance that's needed for people once they know they have HIV," Pack said of Special Health Resource's mission. "We really try to get them back to living ... because HIV doesn't have to be a death sentence anymore. We really try to get them to lead healthy lives."
 
 
 
 
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