Breaking Free Program

Mission Statement

Create healthy communities through education, prevention and testing with a focus on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS.  The mission of Breaking Free Program is to improve the health of the people and communities it serves and to manage illness with skill and compassion. 

Background

Without A Trace Ministries (WATM) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2009, located in Stone Mountain, GA, and serving Metro Atlanta, GA. The organization applied for and received IRS tax-exemption in October 2018. “Breaking Free” is a non-secular program of WATM with a mission to create healthy communities through education, prevention and testing with a focus on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS.  The Breaking Free Program prioritizes underserved populations affected by HIV/AIDS who face barriers to acquiring needed care.  Pastor Gary is an HIV survivor with undetectable viral loads for nearly 20 years.  He has been an advocate for HIV since 2006, working first-hand with Atlanta’s low-income, transient, transgender, homosexual population, including (at-risk) mothers.  For the last 13 years, Pastor Gary has helped these vulnerable populations get tested for HIV/AIDS, get treatment, and develop personal life plans to bring order into their lives so that they could thrive.  Pastor Gary and his wife officially brought the Breaking Free program under their nonprofit organization in order to acquired funding to help more people. The Pastor understood that even with national interest and support, HIV prevalence rates are increasing each year. In fact, in 2016, Georgia led the nation in HIV rates for adults and adolescents, with 31.8 per 100,000 people (CDC 2017 Surveillance Report). Georgia is the only state with an HIV rate of higher than 30.  Moreover, the Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Roswell, GA area (Metro Atlanta Cities), had the 4th highest HIV rate in the entire country.  Simply stated, there is more work to be done in HIV awareness, prevention and treatment, and the Breaking Free Program is committed to fully engaging in this work.

Program Description and Goals

The Breaking Free Program is a Metro Atlanta HIV/AIDS advocacy, prevention, and treatment program that helps people at risk, infected or impacted by HIV/AIDS. We focus our limited resources in support of low-income underserved minorities who are transient women with children, transgender, gay, and bisexuals.  In 2018 we provided direct services for more than 200 people.  In 2019, our goal is to help 600 or more people receive prevention, testing, treatment, and referral services.

Core Services

1.     Advocacy:  We work with community leaders to bring awareness to HIV, to scale up HIV services in the community, and to support the implementation of HIV/AIDS programs for low-income transient individuals.

2.    Prevention: We deliver individual, group, and community level interventions and preparedness that include sex education, condom dissemination, syringe exchange programs (exchanging old dirty syringes for new ones), counseling, and post-exposure prevention (intended to prevent and avert infection in HIV-negative persons). 

3.     Identification & Testing:  We partner with social service agencies, other community and faith-based organizations, and clinics to identify at-risk individuals in need of education and support. We also offer our own HIV screening, testing, and counseling services to identify HIV positive individuals who may be unaware of their infection. 

4.     Voluntary Care & Support:  We provide linkages to HIV related services to mitigate barriers to treatment and increase access to appropriate care.  Services include coordination of resources and referrals for medical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment, counseling, assistance in HIV treatment adherence efforts, provisions for legal services and basic needs, (food, clothes, job training, financial literacy, housing, etc.)

5.     Benefits Screening:  We help low-income people who have HIV/AIDS apply for benefits such as Medicaid to help them get the medical treatment they need including paying for the high costs associated with HIV/AIDS prescription drugs.  People living with HIV/AIDS may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs are designed to provide financial support for people with disabilities and extremely low incomes. People living with HIV/AIDS can begin the Social Security application process if they are no longer employed or have limited work hours because of failing health or when they determine that they no longer are able to work.

Program Goals

Goal 1:  Harm Reduction & Prevention: We will educate high-risk populations by providing clear, specific, and accurate public messages about HIV risks and prevention strategies and disseminate 1200 new syringes and 5,000 condoms in the program year.

Goal 2: Testing and Identification:  We will HIV screening and testing for 120 people within our target population during the program year, 50 of these people will be minority women with children.

Goal 3: Linkages Care & Support:  We will provide community-based linkages to care and/or provide direct support for basic needs for 600 people within our target population.

Goal 4: Removing the Barrier to Treatment:  We will help 100 uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS apply for medical benefits that will pay for the costs associated with HIV/AIDS Treatment and care.