Infectious Disease and Special Populations Department

IDSP Mission Statement

The mission of the Infectious Disease and Special Populations (IDSP) department is to provide a smooth and fluid continuation of care. This means meeting our clients where they’re at mentally, emotionally, and psychosocially. Our goal is not only linkage to care, but also ensuring retention in care through the services we provide.

The mission of the IDSP department is to provide services to the underserved population. To conduct outreach linking individuals to care, whether they are HIV positive or negative.

Purpose of the department

Our purpose of the department is to link those considered “high risk” into adequate and affordable health care. Majority of our clients are transient individuals dealing with mental health, substance abuse, recently out from incarceration, or facing housing insecurity.  They are the ones at risk for contracting HIV, HEP C and should be afforded the opportunity to get tested, receive sexual health counseling, safe kits, and have their health managed by not only adept but empathetic case managers.

The purpose for (IDSP) Department is to provide positive prevention education and harm reduction to individuals to lower their risk of contracting HIV, sexual transmitted diseases or hepatitis.

Define infectious disease and special populations

Infectious disease any pathogen (bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites etc) that causes diseases or inhibits the body from performing optimally.

Special populations are any group of individuals that do not have access to adequate healthcare and is often forgotten or at risk for any disease this includes: NUB, Black, Latinx, low income, felons, IDU’s, adolescents s etc this could be anyone

Infectious Disease is more focusing on diseases that requires for an individual to be follow by a Specialty provider, such as HIV. Other Special populations is where other things are place in a different categories such as sexual transmitted disease, hepatitis, tuberculosis, substance abuse and mental health issues.

The Infectious Disease and Special Populations Department (IDSP) here at Whittier Street Health Center (WSHC) offers a comprehensive set of preventative, diagnostic, and therapeutic services in regards to HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). Our services include: community outreach, community building, STD prevention, counseling, testing, both medical and non-medical HIV and Hepatitis C (Hep C) case management, and other psychosocial services.

 Community Outreach

Our community health outreach workers are the backbone of our department. They are out in the community five days a week at various high risk locations, interacting, screening, disseminating safe sex kits and pamphlets to individuals combatting: homelessness, substance abuse, and food insecurity.

Services include

  • HIV and HCV prevention, counseling, and testing
  • Condom and safe kit distribution
  • Referral and linkage to comprehensive care.
  • We also identify those who are previously diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and link them to treatment.

Also, the IDSP department conducts HIV education and outreach in our within the community with young black men between the ages of 15-29, with a special focus on MSM

For more information feel free to stop by or schedule an appointment with our staff!

Frank Mitchell Program Coordinator

STD/HIV Testing

Our services include a 20- minute Rapid HIV-1/HIV- 2 antibody and antigen testing, as well as a more comprehensive screening that includes: HIV, Hep C, Syphilis’s, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. Patients who tested positive, are immediately linked to care through our same day walk in treatment service.

Testing and Counseling services are readily available during walk-in hours. Clients inquiring PrEP navigation, sexual health, STD transmission, condom distribution, and/or experiencing any symptoms are strongly encouraged to walk in.

  • Walk-ins strongly welcomed
  • Interested on knowing your status? Call our hotline (617)-308-0060

Location

1290 Tremont St, 3rd Floor Family Medicine Green

Boston, MA, 02120

 Testing Hours

Monday-Friday: 8:30 am-4:45 pm

 For more information feel free to stop by or schedule an appointment with our staff!

Amenaghawon Erhunmwunse – IDSP High Case Risk Manager (617)-858-2500

 Medical Case management

Whittier makes sizeable efforts to identify HIV positive individuals quickly after exposure by conducting outreach, testing patients at routine physicals, and promoting HIV education throughout the community. Once clients are diagnosed, they are enrolled into medical case management services at WSHC either through referrals from other agencies or through an initial diagnosis of HIV as well as Hep C at WSHC. They are immediately linked to medical care and have an intake with medical case managers. In order to identify needs and barriers, the medical case managers conduct a comprehensive intake that makes inquiries into medical and social needs such as mental health and substance abuse history, income, insurance and transportation. The MCMs are aware of the vast number of services offered both internally and externally and make all appropriate referrals.

Services include:

  • Health insurance Assistance
  • Food insecurity Assistance
  • Utility assistance
  • Medication adherence support services
  • Referral to behavioral health services
  • Sexual health wellness assistance and promotion

For more information feel free to stop by or schedule an appointment with our staff!

Lucianaga Thames – Senior Medical Case Manager

Diana Sencion – High Risk Acuity Medical Case Manager

Tanee Willis – High Risk Nurse

 Psychosocial Peer Support Services

Whittier Street Health Center provides individual and group level psychosocial support services that will meet the needs of People Living with HIV (PLWH), primarily in our Roxbury location. The Psychosocial Support Advocates (PSA) have a deeper understanding of what clients go through and are able to provide much needed support. The PSA helps the PLWH to adhere to medication regiments and shares the importance of viral suppression. The PSA works with the clients to make sure that they keep their appointments and take their medications regularly. The share coping mechanisms in the group and help to support each other in the group. Members are able to feel that they are not alone in what they are dealing with and learn helpful coping strategies from one another. The PSA’s are working towards the old National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) strategy of helping to reduce new HIV infections. If the clients who are HIV positive are taking their medications regularly, their viral loads will be suppressed to almost undetectable levels. A suppressed or undetectable viral load makes it difficult for the virus to be passed and allows PLWH to remain healthy.

For More information feel free to stop by or schedule an appointment with our staff!

Lourdes Gonzalez – Peer Support Coordinator/Medical Case Manager

For free and confidential HIV counseling and testing, please call our hotline: 617-308-0060 for immediate assistance.

For more information, visit

Whittier Street Health Center

Department of Infectious Disease & Special Populations (IDSP)

1290 Tremont Street 3rd Floor

Boston, Massachusetts 02120

Phone: (617) 427.1000

Fax: (617) 858.2467

Website: https://www.wshc.org/

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).