ARCW VP of Government & Public Relations Testifies in Support of Opioid Task Force Legislation
This spring, Vice President of Government & Public Relations at ARCW, Bill Keeton, testified before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Health in support of legislation aimed at curbing the state’s opioid and heroin abuse problem.
The committee was meeting to discuss four proposed bills that would increase access to addiction treatment and restrict access to codeine (an opioid gateway substance) among other measures.
“Too often, individuals who reach out to ARCW for help in accessing treatment for their addiction are placed on wait lists or are unable to find providers in their areas at all. This is especially true in rural areas throughout the state. Building our provider workforce, clinical capacity and taking advantage of technology are all critical as we continue to address gaps in access to addiction treatment,” Keeton told State Representatives on the committee.
The four bills, and others introduced by the task force, are working their way through the legislative process and all are expected to pass this session. If you’d like to learn more about ARCW advocacy at the local, state and federal levels of government, please contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 414-225-1572.
National HIV Awareness and Testing Days Observed
On Monday, April 10 youth from around the Greater Milwaukee area gathered at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center for ARCW’s National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event.
The event featured interactive workshops, entertainment by DJ Homer Blow, presentations from MKE PATCH Youth, raffle prizes, and of course free, confidential HIV testing. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Division of Public Health AIDS/HIV Program Minority Health HIV Partnership Initiative.
While infection rates continue to decline for most ethnic, racial and demographic groups, young gay men, especially young gay men of color, continue to be disproportionately impacted HIV. In addition to offering testing to ensure as many people as possible know their HIV status, ARCW also continues to offer access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – also known as PrEP. The PrEP clinic at ARCW, which has been made possible through the generous philanthropic support of donors, continues to see significant increases in patient enrollment as awareness of this new HIV prevention strategy continues to increase.
ARCW also recognized national Transgender HIV Testing Day on April 18. Transgender women continue to also experience higher rats of HIV infection when compared to other groups.
ARCW also recognized National Transgender HIV Testing Day on April 18. As always, individuals who would like to schedule an HIV test are encouraged to visit our website arcw.org for more information.
ARCW Sponsors National HIV Advocacy Conference
On March 27 & 28 advocates and stakeholders from across the nation gathered in Washington D.C. for AIDSWatch, the largest constituent-based HIV advocacy event in the United States.
The event, organized by AIDS United and presented by the Elizabeth Taylor ADIS Foundation, brought together over 650 advocates to discuss issues impacting HIV/AIDS. Advocates also took their messages and stories to their elected federal representatives to seek additional funding for HIV prevention, care and treatment programs.
According to a press release from AIDS United the event builds on, “…Elizabeth Taylor's work to bring HIV and AIDS into the global spotlight and to pass key legislation such as the Ryan White CARE Act."
AIDSWatch, which will commemorate its 25th anniversary next year, mobilizes hundreds of advocates to meet with their elected officials and trains them to bring skills back to their home constituencies.
ARCW Vice President of Government and Public Relations Bill Keeton was present, as were two individuals sponsored by ARCW to attend the event. Coverage of AIDSWatch can be found here.
Spring Events in Full Swing
This Saturday, April 22 Strike A Pose at the event of the season, Make A Promise. Click here for tickets and information.
Friday, May 5, Madison hosts the 25th Annual Red Ribbon Affair. Named after the iconic badge that is the international symbol for AIDS awareness, Red Ribbon Affair premiered in 1993. Twenty-five years later its purpose is still to raise critical funds for the fight against AIDS.
For the first time in its 15 year history AIDS Ride Wisconsin will connect Madison and Milwaukee. Visit our website to register or learn more about this annual that Ride.
Support ARCW on August 20 at the Second Annual Red Hot and Leather event, on August 20. The event is organized by a local volunteer with help from the Brew City sisters, and features food, drinks, raffle items, 50/50 raffle and entertainment. Ticket information coming soon.
AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run celebrates its 28th year on Saturday, October 7 at the Milwaukee Lakefront. Registration is open, visit aidswalkwis.org for more information.
ARCW kicked off the spring with Witches & Wizards Bingo on March 26 at the Sheraton. A sold-out crowd of 437 attended. The three month series of outrageously fun bingo games raised more than $55,234 for the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin.
Kristin Mathews Prepares for Her 15th ACT
Each year riders from across the state and country strap on their helmets to ride hundreds of miles to raise critical funds the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin.
Gearing up this year is Kristin Mathews, who has participated in every single AIDS Ride Wisconsin.
“I had several friends who passed away from AIDS and when I saw the ride come through Madison in 1998, I knew that I had to do it,” Kristin explained about why she first became involved in the ride. “I also volunteered at AIDS Network for several years at the front desk and was on the steering committee for the ride one year.”
She went on to explain exactly what keeps her coming back, year after year.
“My favorite part of the ride is spending all day on my bike in the beautiful state of Wisconsin with some of my best friends. The community is amazing! I keep coming back because I love riding my bike, being with some of the nicest people in my life and of course because of the cause. I feel like I keep my friends' memories alive and honor them by riding.”
Aside from the physical demands of the ride that she conquers, Kristin also successfully fundraises each year. “I fundraise by writing letters, asking on Facebook and selling tons of raffle tickets. I take them with me everywhere in the summer!”
What’s Kristin looking forward to this year?
“I am most looking forward to meeting new folks and the new layout of the ride. I hope we get renewed interest and people from Milwaukee on board!”
AIDS Ride Wisconsin – ACT 15 takes place from July 28 – 30. For the first time ever AIDS Ride Wisconsin will reach the Milwaukee area. Visit aidsridwis.org to learn more!