A Culver City-based agency that cares for women with AIDS or who are HIV-positive will extend its services next week by offering clients free rides to health care appointments.
The WomensLink drop-in center offers free services including support groups, child care and psychiatric services to women infected with the disease. The program, offered through the nonprofit PROTOTYPES serves 222 women. About 20% of the women's children are also infected.
"Most of the women we see are living below poverty level and are single parents with at least two children," said Jackie Mendelson, head of PROTOTYPES' community health/AIDS services.
The agency was awarded a $100,000 grant from Johnson & Johnson forProject Access, which will use a 12-passenger van to take clients to appointments.
WomensLink, along with Womens-Care, which offers similar services in Los Angeles, will be honored Tuesday with the company's Community Health Care Crystal Award for its services.
Kathleen Anderson, Womens-Link's program director, said the agency opened two years ago because of the lack of specialized services for women with AIDS in Los Angeles County.
"In the traditional system, most HIV and AID services targeted the gay male," said Anderson. "We found women with children and non-English speaking women didn't have a place to go where they could receive support services."