The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod announced its plans Tuesday, June 11, to open a health clinic for people living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk at Tataket Square in Teaticket.
“We have found a location for our services at [Tataket Square] and we’re in the process of working on a lease for it,” Dan Gates, the group’s chief operating officer, said at the community forum this week on treatment facilities and sober houses.
Tataket Square is on Teaticket Highway across from Stop & Shop. It would be in the same plaza as a proposed Nature’s Remedy location, a medical marijuana distributor.
Unlike the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod’s previous proposal, this office will not include a syringe exchange.
“We wanted to tell the community that, based on the feedback we got at other community meetings, a lot of people asked if we would consider taking our syringe services outside the brick-and-mortar location and go to a mobile outreach service,” Mr. Gates said.
The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod will offer its syringe access service out of a mobile outreach van, which will take approximately six months to build out.
“This is not a food truck version of a syringe program,” Mr. Gates said. “It will be a medical clinic on wheels. It will have two offices; we will do phlebotomy services there; we will be testing people for HIV, HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases; we will be doing risk assessment and counseling for every person who receives syringes every time they receive syringes.”
The office at Tataket Square will offer all the group’s other harm reduction services, he said. This includes naloxone distribution, education on overdose prevention, medication assistance and connecting clients with treatment facilities or therapists.
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“This new clinic will provide the same life-saving services we provided at our Town Hall Square location, which will include a wide array of testing services for HIV, Hepatitis C and many other transmittable infections. We will also be providing support services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the area,” Mr. Gates wrote in a statement Wednesday, June 12.
He thanked state Representative David T. Vieira (R-East Falmouth) for his assistance in finding a location for their service.
“I am glad the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod was willing to explore the mobile option for needle exchange in the Upper Cape and to use their future fixed location for administration and counseling services,” Rep. Vieira said. “Working together, we will be able to bring harm reduction services to the Upper Cape while minimizing community impacts. I look forward to our continued collaboration as we identify sites for the mobile unit to visit and encourage those individuals and organizations that would like to host the unit to contact ASGCC in the weeks ahead.”
Mr. Gates wrote in the statement that the group hopes to have a space finalized in the coming weeks.
“We look forward to continuing to work together with the Falmouth community as a resource and a support for people living in the area as we take on the opioid epidemic, which has greatly impacted the residents of Falmouth,” he wrote.
The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod previously announced plans to open an office with a syringe exchange at 178 East Falmouth Highway, near St. Anthony’s Church. Residents and abutters, including representatives from the church, were outspoken in their opposition to the plan.
It dropped plans for the 178 East Falmouth Highway location in January.