WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's one of the largest expansions Compass Community Center has witnessed in over 30 years. On Friday, the center partnered with CAN Community Health to provide on-site doctors and other immediate services to people who test positive for HIV.
Thirty years ago, Compass gave Velvet Lenore Smith, Miss Palm Beach Pride 2016 the resources to be empowered, advocating and living her best life.
”It doesn’t matter who you are. We all are living the same way we all are trying to do the same thing. — we all want to be loved and respected,” Smith said. ”I’m living my life because of Compass.”
The mission has stayed the same but services and programming have expanded. On June 25, the center partnered with CAN Community Health, full-service nonprofit clinics that offer medical, dental, psychological, and lifestyle counseling to HIV patients, regardless of their financial situation, insurance status, or ability to pay.
“The same day if they’re tested and they test positive they’re going to see a doctor, they’re going to receive treatment and they’re going to walk out of our clinic with medication,” said Patrice Gray, CAN Community Health practice administrator.
Gray gave WPTV a tour. She calls offering on-the-spot care proactive.
”Once they walk through the door they’re going to walk out completely taken care of. There’s no reason that we need to send them anywhere else to any other agency. This is their one-stop-shop for their healthy living,” Gray said.
It also encourages testing and promotes healthy outcomes.
”Through PrEP services, through prevention and education we’re trying to bring those numbers down,” said Gabrielle Brito, RN, CAN Community Health, registered nurse team lead. “CAN provides a whole range of opportunities for people to seek services without feeling judged.”
Compass said this partnership was three years in the making and while the look of the center has changed, the center’s goal hasn’t.
”It’s really taking Compass back to its roots because you can’t talk about the LGBTQ community without recognizing the history, the trauma, and the past with HIV and AIDS," said Julie Seavers, Compass CEO and executive director.
Testing just like a person’s results is confidential. To learn more about CAN Community Health, click here.
To learn more about services and programming at Compass Community Center, click here.