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Women of LSS: "It's not just a job—it's a ministry."

As Women's History Month begins, the Women of LSS series features Lynnette Cuebas, a dedicated Jail Link Case Manager at Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Northeast Florida since 2016. She works within the ACE (Advocacy, Care & Education) program, the agency's HIV services initiative.

Lynnette's journey began in 1998 in HIV case management, driven by her commitment to supporting individuals grappling with the disease. Now, she focuses on providing crucial support to HIV inmates in the Duval County jail, embodying the resilience and compassion of women in social services. Read her story in her own words:

Lynette joined LSS in 2016, but her career in HIV case management began in 1998.

"My journey to my current role with Lutheran Social Services (LSS) began in 1998 when I started working in HIV case management. At that time, the outlook for individuals diagnosed with HIV was bleak, with many facing the prospect of developing AIDS within a few years and ultimately succumbing to the disease within a decade.

Witnessing the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on my clients and the lack of support and understanding in society motivated me to dedicate myself to this field. I spent countless hours providing care and support to individuals facing this illness, often in the face of stigma and discrimination.

For me, this role is not just a job—it's a ministry.

Over the years, I had the privilege of seeing significant advancements in HIV therapy. The introduction of antiretroviral medications transformed the landscape of HIV treatment, allowing many of my clients to live longer, healthier lives. It was incredibly rewarding to witness individuals thriving and finding fulfillment despite their diagnosis.

In 2016, I made the decision to move to Orange Park to be closer to my family. While I initially took on a supervisory role with another agency, it was short-lived. However, my journey took an unexpected turn for the best when I was offered the opportunity to join Lutheran Social Services. This organization recognized my passion for serving individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and offered me a role providing case management to HIV inmates in the Duval County jail.

For me, this role is not just a job—it's a ministry. It allows me to combine my professional expertise with my personal passions to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Working with HIV inmates in the jail setting presents its own unique challenges, but it also offers opportunities to provide crucial support and resources to a population that is often marginalized and underserved

In essence, my journey to my current role with LSS has been shaped by a deep commitment to serving others, a passion for making a difference, and a steadfast belief in the power of compassion and community support to overcome adversity.

HIV Services at LSS

Lynette seated with staff from the LSS HIV services department during World AIDs Day banquet in Jacksonville, Florida in 2023.

In addition to Lynnette's heartfelt account, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Northeast Florida takes pride in its comprehensive HIV services program, offering a range of support initiatives. LSS provides the most robust Ryan White services under one roof, ensuring individuals living with HIV have access to vital resources and care. Recognized as the #1 voted HIV agency in 2023 in Northeast Florida, LSS continues to prioritize excellence in service delivery, striving to meet the diverse needs of the community with compassion and dedication.

Furthermore, the presence of a CAN Community Health clinic on the LSS campus significantly enhances accessibility for individuals living with HIV, ensuring convenient access to comprehensive healthcare services. It's noteworthy that clients at LSS boast an impressive 91 percent viral suppression rate as of December 2023. This remarkable achievement signifies that 91 out of 100 clients cannot spread the virus through sexual contact, highlighting the effectiveness of the services provided and the dedication of the LSS team to improving the lives of those affected by HIV.

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