Utah AIDS Foundation will provide mental health assistance to people living with HIV

The new program — the first of its kind in Utah — begins July 1.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jackie Roher leads participants in warm-up exercises before the Utah AIDS Foundation's 30th annual AIDS walk, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.

In addition to helping people living with HIV with their physical health, the Utah AIDS Foundation (UAF) is about to begin helping them with their mental health.

Beginning July 1, UAF will expand its services to include long-term mental health counseling. It is the first new program the organization has added in more than a decade. It comes in response to “the persistent need and the long-term trauma experienced by clients living with HIV,” said UAF executive director Ahmer Afroz.

Although UAF is based in Salt Lake City, its staff works with people living with HIV across the state of Utah. The new program will offer this “extremely marginalized population” individualized, long-term mental health therapy — the first program of its kind in Utah.

In-person counseling will be available at the Utah AIDS Foundation offices at 1408 S. 1100 East, as well as virtual appointments for those who live elsewhere. According to UAF, the new program received the majority of its funding from Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS, a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with additional support from several local foundations.