TAMPA — American Bone Health has chosen Tampa Bay as the test pilot for a new program aimed at helping people living with HIV.

Carlos Mendoza depends on the caseworkers at Metro Inclusive Health to keep him on the right track when it comes to living his best life.

 

“It’s really exciting to be here and be able to participate in this because anyone with HIV or any kind of sickness should be up on their health,” said Mendoza.

According to Suncoast Health Council, there are more than 14,000 clients living with HIV in Tampa Bay and they are all at high risk when it comes to bone health.

“Medications in addition to their aging has put them at greater risk for bone fractures,” said Lisa Nugent with Suncoast Health Council.

So this week Suncoast Health Council is packaging and delivering thousands of Bone Health Tool Kits to agencies and caseworkers across Tampa Bay.

“So we have these kits that have a variety of items in them that go to the case managers, they can share with their clients, to remind them to take their medications and drink water and to do other things to keep themselves healthy and their bones healthy and decrease the risk of fractures,” said Nugent.

Caseworkers said the contents in the bag may be simple, yet if used effectively, they could also be life-saving.

“So the most important thing is to explain everything in the bag and not only explain what they are receiving but how it impacts their health, why its important to them,” said Ginnie Larkins, a caseworker with Metro Inclusive Health.

These caseworkers are also excited to know that what they’re doing in Tampa, could be the backbone of a nationwide trend.

“Once we get feedback from the case managers and really see how they’ve been able to coach their clients and help them learn how to manage their bone health then this is a platform that we can take to case managers across the country,” said Cheryl Hostinak, with American Bone Health.

As for Mendoza, he couldn’t wait to get introduced to his took kit.

“I look at it, I read what it says, and once they explain it to me I’m like, ‘ok, ok,’ I can work with this, you know I can actually use this, this will actually help,” said Mendoza.

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