About HIV Services:

Quest Center has been meeting the holistic healthcare needs of Oregonians living with HIV since 1989. Today, Quest’s HIV Services department continues to serve this community through three Ryan White-funded programs as well as streamlined access to the agency’s broader culturally competent services. At Quest, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are accompanied in their journey to wellness with both individual and community support services. Our department proudly offers:
  • HIV-relevant Educational Events
  • Empowerment & Skill-building Workshops
  • Monthly Activity Nights, Annual Wellness Retreats, and Community Events such as AIDS Walk, World AIDS Day, and Pride NW

Check out our HIV Services Monthly Calendar: February 2017*


Our Values & Vision:

Quest is a non-profit health clinic that believes quality care options should be available to all of our patients regardless of income, insurance, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, race, ethnicity, disability, veteran status, HIV status, or chronic health conditions. In the HIV Services Department, we apply this approach to our community of PLWHA. Through the acquisition of grants, fundraising, and Ryan White contracts, our staff works hard to ensure that no one seeking wellness services is denied access for financial reasons. We also seek to create a welcoming environment in which our community members are treated with the highest standard of dignity and respect. Our dedicated team works on behalf of the following values:
  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Mutuality
  • Curiosity
  • Integrative Care
  • Cultural Respect and Awareness
  • Social Justice
We employ these values to best address the needs of the vibrant community of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Oregon and southwest Washington. Our staff engage in a relationship of mutual responsibility in order to cultivate change and optimal health as defined by each individual. We in HIV/AIDS services are committed to treating the body, mind, and spirit through holistic and integrative approaches. Finally, HIV Services staff are acutely aware of the social determinants of HIV that often have a paralyzing effect on the community. Therefore, our work starts by acknowledging the unique experience of each individual within the larger context of society. We seek to understand the impact of intersecting forms of oppression including racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, transphobia, trauma, poverty, abuse, exploitation, dispossession, health disparity, and stigma; all of which act as barriers to the ability to realize one’s full potential. Only by understanding systemic barriers and validating people’s experience with them, can we begin to break down those barriers to move forward, through, or around them.

Services:

Women of Wisdom (W.O.W.) Psychosocial Support
WOW is where we are accepted, not stigmatized, where we find unity and love. We can laugh together, cry together, have great memories and support each other in a safe, non-judgmental environment. To remove a sense of isolation and know we are not alone… - WOW Creed (2015)
Women of Wisdom (WOW) is a community of sisterhood for HIV positive women. WOW is based on a former support program for HIV+ women in Portland, known as WIAR, or Women’s Inner-city AIDS Resource. When WIAR could no longer keep its doors open, Quest’s Women of Wisdom (WOW) Program opened in 2005 with the help of the Positive Women’s Task Force, representing a consortium of government and non-profit community based organizations that came together to answer a dire need for support services for women living with HIV/AIDS. Since 2005, the Women of Wisdom program has offered psychosocial support services that unite, educate, and empower positive women. Thanks to the support of Ryan White funding, WOW has served as a safe space for HIV+ women and their children for over 10 years. Today, WOW remains the only program of its kind in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The overarching goals of the WOW program are to strengthen the capacity of women living with HIV to self-manage their own disease progression, reduce social isolation, promote community and strengthen social support networks, and employ a holistic health approach that incorporates social, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical wellness. With the host of services and programs offered through Quest Center, positive women have opportunities to make connections with others, to build friendships, to escape isolation and stigma, to manage their health, and to become advocates for their own health care. Services include:
  • Weekly support groups
  • One-on-one peer support from other positive women
  • Empowerment and life-skills workshops
  • Individual and group counseling sessions
  • Community meals
  • Fun monthly activity nights
  • Free childcare during WOW activities
  • Transportation assistance
  • Access to Quest services including non-opioid pain management, mental health therapy, trauma counseling, alcohol and drug treatment, yoga, acupuncture, and wellness retreats
The WOW group meets every Wednesday in the Quest Center East Kitchen from 4-7pm. To learn more about WOW, please contact Katy Byrtus at 503.238.5203. ext. 321 or by e-mail to katyb@quest-center.org
 
Community-Specific Mental Health Services
HIV-Specific Individual Therapy Quest has been the Ryan-White-funded provider of mental health services in the Portland metro-area since 1994. Recognized for warm, effective, and culturally competent care, Quest’s experienced Mental Health staff strive to develop a community which nurtures support, wellness, and self-empowerment. Qualifying individuals who are under- or un-insured may have their Mental Health services covered by Quest’s Ryan White contract or other grant funding. These funds help ensure access to individual, couple or family counseling, group therapy, psychiatric assessment and medication management, and a variety of mental health workshops. In 2016, clinician Jeffrey York joined the HIV Services team as a part-time MH therapist. Specializing in issues specific to HIV, Jeffrey is well-trained and embedded in the local AIDS Service community. He is our dedicated Ryan White provider of Mental Health and offers Individual, Group, and Couples therapy, upon request. Gay Men’s HIV+ Community & Process Group For many years, Quest offered a free mental health support group for HIV+ gay men. Having gone on hiatus in winter 2014, we are happy to announce that this group will be returning in June 2016; open to male-identified clients living with HIV who are currently seeing a MH provider at Quest. The Gay Men’s HIV+ Community and Process Group is an opportunity to connect with other HIV+ men, to support one another, to share and receive information, and to help break away from the stigma of living with HIV. The goal of participating is to remove isolation and build a strong community of both newly-diagnosed and long-term survivors. Led by HIV-Services therapist Jeffrey York, this recurring Mental Health group is a creative way to learn, laugh, love, and lament in a safe and therapeutic community setting. For more information or to see if you're eligible, call Nicole Judd-Bekken, Director of HIV Services at 503-238-5203 or email nicolejb@quest-center.org  
 
HIV & Behavioral Health Peer Support
Studies show that folks living with HIV/AIDS face significant barriers to accessing effective mental healthcare; but when they do access competent care, their physical health shows a marked improvement. Quest’s HIV & Behavioral Health Peer Support program helps people access and stay engaged in mental health and substance use recovery services that best fit their lifestyle, beliefs, needs, and identity. Our Peer Support Specialists have lived experience with mental illness and addiction and understand the added complications that can come from living with HIV.

Peer support means getting help from someone who has been there

Our work starts by looking for, and building connections between, two individuals living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. This one-on-one relationship is supported with the use of goal plans that can help develop and accomplish treatment goals. This program also offers a Peer Community Group where people with similar experiences can listen, give hope, and exchange guidance in a mutual relationship geared toward recovery and wellness. In the words of a Quest Peer Support Specialist:
“Mental health, like physical health, is important to everyone’s wellness. Those of us living with HIV, however, often face a number of unique challenges to our emotional, social, spiritual, and mental health. We often deal with anxiety about real or perceived health concerns, social stigma and exclusion, current and/or past traumas, addictions, financial and relationship struggles... with all of these issues compounding and taking an enormous toll on our mental health. Most of us know first-hand that when our mental health suffers, so too does our physical health and the wellness of our communities.”
  Peer support is not magic, nor is it always quick or comfortable (however, there is always room for fun and laughter.) It requires both participants to actively engage with each other to identify what wellness means for them personally. Most of all, rather than asking “What’s wrong with you?” our Peers want to know, “What happened?”; “What’s going on right now?”; “Where would you like to go?” and “How do we get there together?” For more information or to schedule an intake, call Katy Byrtus, Program Coordinator at 503-238-5203 or email katyb@quest-center.org

Meet Our Peers:

Beau Rappaport

Beau Rappaport

Peer Support Specialist

About Beau


 

Providing a "Home" for HIV Positive Women and Their Children, Chanda’s Story

Chanda says she didn’t come to Quest Center. Quest came to her... Read More

  Quest Center is proud to have Leslie Williams, video above, among our team of clinicians and to work with the Partnership Project in our shared efforts to serve people living with HIV/AIDS.

HIV Doesn’t Define a Person, Kerry’s Story

In 2007, 52-year-old Kerry was diagnosed with AIDS, at the same time he learned he had prostate cancer. “It was a relief that I had cancer,” he said. “I didn’t have to tell people, ‘I have AIDS.’”... Read More