Texas HIV Connection

The Texas HIV Connection is dedicated to decreasing substance abuse and HIV disease by increasing awareness, education, personal involvement and participation in the prevention of these and other related diseases.

The Texas HIV Connection (also commonly referred to as the "HIV Connection") provides training, information and resources about the relationship between substance use, HIV/AIDS and related diseases. This program is one of several training components within Workers Assistance Program, Inc. and is funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Although training is a primary component of the program, the "connection" in Texas HIV Connection means more than just training. It also means:

  • Linking substance abuse professionals with information and resources;
  • Making connections with other human service professionals and agencies;
  • Connecting people with services; and
  • Providing facts about HIV/AIDS to a variety of populations.


Staff:

The Texas HIV Connection is made up of HIV training specialists, and support staff; each person is dedicated to the provision of highly successful training programs. Our training staff's strengths come from the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and service in both the substance abuse and HIV/AIDS education fields. Our trainers are required to meet standards set by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Center for Disease Control and Texas Department of Health. They also undergo periodic specialized training programs for certifications in particular courses.


BRAD LINDGREN

Brad started with the HIV Connection in September of 2006 and became the director in 2010. His background in the HIV field began in the fall of 1997 as a volunteer doing street outreach and teaching harm reduction techniques to the homeless and IDU populations in the Austin area. He has been an advocate for harm reduction reform and has worked on the streets of Austin with ASA, C.A.R.E and AHRC. Brad has also worked as a Disease Intervention Specialist for the city of Austin. He is a member of the TRI (Texas Recovery Initiative) as well as ROSC Recovery Orientated System of Care. Brad had been part of the committee the last 3 years helping with the annual Hepatitis C Summit. Brad is very committed to the community in helping with issues of substance abuse, mental health and infectious diseases.


JOSEPH DUARTE

Joseph Duarte brings both PBC (Protocol Based Counseling) and outreach experience to the Texas HIV Connection. He received his Bachelor’s degree in German from the University of Texas at Austin and has a minor in Mexican American Studies. After volunteering as a hotline crisis counselor for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) in New York City, he moved back to Austin where he resumed his work in the HIV field with the C.A.R.E. Program. After a year of outreach work, Joseph moved into the testing and counseling field, where he found his passion for helping others as it pertains to HIV prevention and risk reduction counseling. Although he formally left the Outreach Team, he continued to reach out to the MSM population via the Internet. Joseph is PBC certified and a Training Specialist with hands-on experience. Joseph maintains the Connection’s Facebook and Twitter sites.


MIKKA BASHAM

Mikka Basham is the newest member of HIV Connection. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Community Health Education from Texas A&M University.  Mikka began her career in the HIV/AIDS field as a Disease Intervention Specialist for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Region 7.  Her experience includes conducting field investigations of communicable diseases by locating and counseling persons exposed to, infected with, or having a positive test for communicable diseases. She was also responsible for helping patients get into the proper healthcare care systems based on their diagnosis. Mikka continued her work in the public school system by helping implement and teach sex education programs in greater Houston area school districts.  Mikka is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion to help others in this area of public health.


DAGO GARCIA

Dago Garcia began his time with Workers Assistance Program in February 2012. Dago moved to Austin from Houston in 2004 to attend St. Edward’s University. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in History, Dago pursued his Master’s in the Liberal Arts and graduated in May 2012. Dago has several interests ranging from music to writing, but his true passion is helping people in need. Odd jobs through school have provided a strong background in customer service. Although he is new to the nonprofit milieu, Dago is committed to bringing his best effort in his position as Contract/Event Manager.


 


  
      

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