THE MIDDLE EAST NATIVES, TESTING, ORIENTATION, AND REFERRAL SERVICES (M.E.N.T.O.R.S.) is a new HIV/AIDS prevention and control program among Arab communities.
Any successful AIDS prevention program requires appropriate social response in addition to the appropriate medical response and physician involvement. Not for profit organizations can be a key to providing this, which is particularly important for AIDS prevention since HIV is transmitted through behavior patterns that are intimate or taboo, especially in the Arab or Middle Eastern communities.
M.E.N.T.O.R.S. was founded by an Egyptian citizen, in 1998, as a supportive service community-based program, providing HIV/AIDS counseling and medical referrals. By 1999, the Project had expanded its services, to resettle and serve both legal and undocumented Arab immigrants and refugees from throughout the Middle East and French-speaking North Africa.
M.E.N.T.O.R.S. employs, in addition to its program manager, 2 trained Arab-born peer educators to conduct its outreach program, a program assistant, and several volunteers, all Arab-born.
The HIV services focus on HIV prevention/risk reduction and access to HIV counseling, testing and treatment for Arab Americans who have immigrated over the last decade. HIV/AIDS services are funded by the Ford Foundation.
M.E.N.T.O.R.S. offers HIV/STD prevention outreach to Middle Eastern immigrants, offers comprehensive case management to HIV positive clients, community-level interventions, and development of peer leadership.
Arabic is the language most widely spoken by Middle Eastern immigrants in New York, followed by French. The staff at M.E.N.T.O.R.S. are fluent in all of the above languages.