Open Door Health Center has grown out of need. In 1975 the Visiting Nurses Association of Elgin saw the need for sexually transmitted infection (STI) education, testing and treatment, then referred to as venereal disease or VD. They worked with other concerned citizens to develop Open Door, incorporating it as a nonprofit organization in 1977.
In the 80’s the AIDS epidemic was growing. Despite the fact there was little understanding of the disease or how it was contracted, the common factor was similar sexual experiences. Open Door saw the need to educate the community – so they started to do so.
As diagnostic tools for HIV became available, Open Door was one of the first sites in Illinois to begin using them to test for the virus. Since little was still known, yet people who were HIV positive needed assistance, Open Door filled the void by developing case management services with a seed grant from the St. Charles Rotary Club. As treatment became available but infectious disease doctors were overwhelmed and there were so few, Open Door rushed to become a clinic to provide medical services.
Throughout the 38 year history of the organization, Open Door has become the premier provider of sexual health and wellness in the greater Fox Valley area. The needs of our community continue to change. Open Door continues to respond. Our legacy is very important to us and has been captured in a book called The Legacy Campaign.
Open Door continues to expand efforts to provide education, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections by providing opportunities in under served communities throughout five counties. Open Door continues to expand specialty medical services to people who are living with HIV/AIDS by increasing medical and case management staff, introducing behavioral health and substance abuse services and developing a state-of-the-art medical facilities. Open Door is developing primary medical services to consumers who need their doctors to provide discrimination and stigma free care, specifically those in the GLBT community.
As the needs of our community grows, the services of Open Door do too. We are a responsive organization providing vital services to those in need.