Friday, August 1, 2008

5 Questions for Dianna Dorsey, Outreach Worker

5 Questions is our ongoing feature where we introduce you to the people who make Brandywine Counseling run, spotlighting a different staff member every two weeks.

Name: Dianna Dorsey
Job: Outreach Worker, HIV Prevention and Needle Exchange
Time with BCI: 5 years

1. What is your job at BCI?
I work in the Outreach Department as an HIV Prevention Specialist, and the NEP program. And what we do is, we go out in the community, and pass out condoms, educate individuals on the street about HIV, the spread of HIV and Hep C, and different STDs. We also try to get them to come and do an HIV test, and let them know how important it is to learn their status. A typical workday is being out on the streets, going all across town, educating them, just letting them know how important HIV is, and how important it is to not to be sharing your works.

And the needle exchange, we have the van, and the clients come out and exchange their dirty syringes for clean ones to prevent the spread of HIV and prevent sharing. So when we’re in the community and we’re doing our outreach, that’s another target. We go and hand out flyers, and let them know we have the needle exchange, and we’re also doing HIV testing out on the street at this location and this time, and different locations that we have throughout the week.

2. What got you interested in doing this kind of work?
I actually had family members who went through the struggle of addiction. And just seeing them inspired me to understand addiction, to find out the triggers, and everything that comes along with that. So that was my main reason. As far as working with HIV, I just wanted to be more educated about it. And once I got the proper education, I just fell in love with it, and that’s my goal. I love what I do.

3. What is your biggest challenge in doing your job?
My biggest challenge is not having [clients] come through, as far as getting tested. Or, on the streets, trying to really really really educate these people out there, and they’re still saying no. So, we have to come from different angles at times, and that’s a challenge. Because you have some people that are out there that say, “Well, I don’t want to get tested.”

“Well, have you ever been tested?”


“Tell us the reason you don’t want to be tested.”

“I don’t.”

“Do you understand the importance of being tested?”

So, when they tell us no, they don’t want to be tested, that’s a very big challenge to me, because I’m not accomplishing what I’m out here to do.

4. What would people be surprised to know about your work?
I think they would be surprised to know that I really care. And caring for the individuals on the streets, that’s a plus. That’s number one. Because if you’re in this addiction - and you have individuals that are out there that don’t have loved ones – [and] you really show them that you’re there, and that you’re supporting them regardless of what decisions they make, I think that surprises them a lot also. Because if you just go out and say, “Here, take this condom,” or, “Come to the exchange,” they’re going to feel some type of way about that, because they’re not feeling the love at all from us. So in order for us to engage with these clients, we have to show them that we care. We have to show them that we love them, and I think that surprises a lot of them.

5. What advice do you have for someone who would like to do the job you do?
Come with it with your heart. Don’t just do it for a paycheck, have it in your heart that this is what you want to do.


Basha said...

Dee, I know you answered from the heart and I am so grateful to have you on my team. Every new infection starts with a positive person and your job is vital to stop the spread of HIV.

Brandy said...

This was a good interview, keep up the good work!