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Charlotte nonprofit provides people living with HIV with free or low-cost medical care – WSOC TV

CHARLOTTE – Channel 9 shines a light on a local non-profit organization helping people diagnosed with HIV in the community.

RAO Community Health provides free or low-cost medical care to people at high risk of contracting HIV or infected with the virus.

Lynnell Scott told Channel 9’s Damany Lewis that he is alive today thanks to the medical care he is receiving from RAO in Charlotte.

“To be honest, I feel like they saved my life,” Scott said.

Scott said it was an ad he saw about an app that helped him get his free medicine. This medicine prevents him from contracting HIV.

“I feel like they really care about you and I have a support team,” he said. “It’s different. I have a supportive community.

The nonprofit’s CEO, Bernard Davis, told Lewis more about the difference.

“A lot of times when we look at medicine and health care, individuals don’t have the option of having someone who looks like them,” he said. “So when they tell their story, they don’t feel embarrassed or looked down upon.”

Latest figures from the Mecklenburg County Health Department show 6,800 people were living with HIV in the county as of December 2019. Davis said RAO’s mission is to support minority and underserved populations battling the disease .

“Also your social services and housing, and we also have an intervention where we’re looking to reduce stigma around HIV services,” Davis said.

Now the RAO staff have bigger plans for next year. They thrive by providing primary care services to those who cannot afford them.

“It’s important that we have a place where individuals receive their primary care, we become their home for primary care and help them with those areas because we serve the vulnerable population,” Davis said.

Scott says expanding services will only help more people get care from providers whose hearts are in what they do.

“Genuine. I feel like they’re passionate about what we’re doing here,” Scott said. “I feel like they really care, in a real way.”

RAO is hosting a gala this Saturday at the Westin Charlotte. Tickets are available for purchase; click here for more.

(WATCH BELOW: HIV cure: Third person appears to be virus-free thanks to new treatment)

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