It is essential that mental health or addictions/drug rehab programs maintain a high level of sensitivity toward the unique needs of special populations including those of gay, lesbian and transgendered clients.

Promoting Risk Reduction

Other issues to be addressed in the behavioral and alcohol and drug rehab program should include a full range of education on risk behaviors in treatment including:

  • Syringe sharing
  • Unsafe sex
  • Instruction on and linkage to advocacy resources
  • Screening services

Developing skills and promoting risk reduction are important in rehab programs as is ensuring treatment for any physical and mental health problems (such as tuberculosis; hepatitis A, B and C; sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS; diabetes; poor nutrition; and depression).

For clients with HIV/AIDs, the rehab program should work closely with local specialty organizations in addition to the individual’s primary care physician to promote risk reduction. This collaboration is especially important when the person is starting, stopping or changing HIV/AIDS treatment to ensure understanding of the impact of adherence to antiretrovirals.

Conjoint therapy with broad support systems, specifically relationships important to the client, should also be included within all rehab programs to broaden the person’s support network.