The Intersectionality of the needs of HIV and Mental Health

Philadelphia FIGHT is a unique health provider and treatment center because it caters specifically towards people with HIV/AIDS.

Philadelphia FIGHT is located at 13th and Locust in the Gayborhood in Philadelphia. It was originally a HIV/AIDS health center but that has broadened to also encompass mental health. It is expected for the organization to be able to service anyone with mental health issues within the next year.

The organization’s clientele focuses on the underserved. This means that the only insurance that FIGHT allows is Medicare, Medicaid, and other government funded insurances. No private insurances can be accepted. Akia Feggans makes a point in talking a lot about her clientele because she is skeptical of those who categorize addiction issues as an epidemic.

“Why is this considered an epidemic?” Feggans asked the class.

A few students raised their hands, but no one offered the correct answer.

“It’s only an epidemic because it now affects white upper-middle-class white people. People have been dying in my community for a while. This is not new,” she said.

Akia Feggans is a social worker for the organization. She has a masters from the University of Pennsylvania.

Feggans continues to educate the class on how most people who enter her center receive treatments. According to Feggans, it takes people 6-7 times of sobriety before recovery can really kick-in.

FIGHT makes a point to provide both mental health and HIV/AIDS services because there is a correlation with HIV, mental health, and drug use, according to Feggans. It would be impossible to completely fix one problem without catering to the others.

Feggans spoke to our class about the intersectionality of problems that may arise if you’re poor, a person of color, HIV positive, and dealing with both addiction and mental health issues.

About the author

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen is a sophomore Journalism major with a Political Science minor at Temple University. She also does the Morning Updates for WHIP, Temple’s student radio station. She is the creator of WHIP’s The District where she and a co-host discuss Philadelphia and Pennsylvania state politics every Tuesday and Thursday night; 7-8 pm. She previously interned for Solomon Jones at 900amWURD for the “Wake Up With WURD” show where she learned about radio production and promotion through social media. She is a member of Temple’s Association of Black Journalists. She has volunteered with Update Now during her first year. She is the executive producer of TUTV’s Temple Talk, Temple’s only entertainment day show. Contact Taylor at tuf89707@temple.edu.

Add comment