HIV patients who receive health care from the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin or other HIV clinics across the country would see an increase in services and access to care under a proposal introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) and their colleagues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
“Senator Baldwin and Representative Pocan’s leadership is truly commendable. Unfettered access to high quality health care for people with HIV is a key component of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” said ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Gifford. “Today in the United States, the difference between a long, healthy life or rapid disease progression and significant illness for HIV patients is having a primary care physician who is knowledgeable about treating HIV disease. This bill will make sure that more Americans with HIV have access to this care.”
The bill, known as the HIV Clinical Services Improvement Act, would allow health care clinics funded under Part C of the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to be eligible to receive the same Medicaid reimbursement rates as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Currently, HIV clinics that are not an FQHC receive substantially lower reimbursement rates for providing the same high quality health care.
“Ryan White clinics across the United States are incredibly successful in helping their patients keep or regain their health,” said ARCW Vice President for Government and Public Relations Bill Keeton. “Today, 86% of ARCW patients, and 75% of patients in Ryan White clinics across the United States, are achieving HIV viral suppression – the most important clinical indicator of successful HIV treatment. These clinics produce great results and need to be strengthened.”
There are more than one million people living with HIV in the United States today, but only 30% are achieving viral suppression. Access and retention in health care and adherence to medication regimens remain significant barriers to health for an overwhelming majority of HIV patients across the country – many of whom live in poverty. Even in Wisconsin – long identified as a national leader in its response to HIV – approximately 54% of the roughly 8,200 HIV patients are not achieving viral suppression.
“This legislation will ensure that clinics across the country have the resources they need to provide health care to their existing 275,000 patients and their share of the 50,000 Americans who are newly diagnosed with HIV every year,” Keeton said. “While the number of patients turning to our clinics has increased 74% since 2001, federal funding for Ryan White clinics has increased only 8%. If we are to defeat HIV and realize an AIDS-free generation, we must make sure all HIV patients – no matter where they live – have access to care.”
ARCW is part of a national coalition of groups supporting the HIV Clinical Services Improvement Act that includes AIDS United, the Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition, the HIV Medicine Association and other AIDS Service Organizations across the United States.
Changes To Allow Patients and Clients Access to ARCW Services
The ARCW location in downtown Madison is receiving a $2 million upgrade that will enhance access to care for people turning to ARCW for HIV prevention, care and treatment services.
Once renovated, patients will have access to the full array of integrated, comprehensive health home services ARCW is known for, including a new medical clinic and HIV-specialty pharmacy. The new facility, which is doubling the size of the current office at 600 Williamson Street will also continue to offer dental and behavioral health care, integrated social services including a food pantry, legal services, housing programs and social work case management. Dedicated areas for HIV prevention programs and testing are also being created in the newly renovated space.
Overseeing the $133 per square foot renovation is ARCW Chief Financial Officer Tim Dyer. Kahler Slater architects have designed the new space to facilitate coordination among the clinics and to promote a complete and easy access to all ARCW Resources for patients and clients.
“We are pleased with the design, we are pleased with the progress we are making and we intend to have this new space occupied and functional by December 1, World AIDS Day,” said Dyer.
The renovation will be funded through capital donations from ARCW donors throughout Wisconsin. “You will not be able to go to another city of the same size anywhere in America and find the scope of services that ARCW patients will find here,” said Dan Mueller, ARCW Chief Development Officer.
“Donors will be able to take great pride in the fact that these offices will contribute to our goal of providing the highest quality HIV health care possible,” said Mueller.
Allies interested in learning how they can support the renovation, including room naming opportunities, may call Mueller at 414-225-1545.
Private performance to follow exclusive restaurant tasting
Prepare yourself for a night of sumptuous samples and loud laughter as ARCW presents its 20th annual Jolly Holly Folly, Wednesday, December 16, at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Jolly Holly Folly will feature signature tastings from Milwaukee-area restaurants and a private performance of The Second City’s Holidazed & Confused Revue, “the riotous send-up of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and everything in between.”
The Second City is considered the most influential and prolific comedy theatre in the world, with artists including Anne Meara, Dan Aykrod, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Tina Fey and many more.
To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the Jolly Holly Folly page on our website.
ARCW has received a $100,000 grant from Aurora Health Care’s Better Together Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The grant was presented to ARCW on May 7 and is allowing ARCW to expand its depression screening initiative in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Kenosha.
Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder among adults who are HIV-positive. ARCW is committed to providing the best health care available to HIV patients.
“Two years ago, ARCW made a bold commitment that all of our patients would be screened for depression,” said Kevin Roeder, PhD, Senior Director of the ARCW Behavioral Health and Wellness Clinic. “This grant will provide ARCW the resources necessary to conduct cutting edge training for providers and enhance the universal screening and referral process in its integrated health home.”
More than half the people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are over 50 years of age. Their lives saved by antiretroviral therapies, these men still deal with problems medical and psychological, many struggling with post-traumatic stress, having lived through an unprecedented period of loss.
On Sunday, October 25, ARCW is sponsoring the screening of this documentary by Daniel F. Cardone at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s 2015 LGBT Film Festival.
Cardone’s film introduces us to a group of men who have sought out an oasis in Palm Springs, California, where both their homosexuality and health condition is not just tolerated, but understood. Desert Migration is productively reflective as these men’s recollections expand our history of the devastation of AIDS, and this film — a work about healing, aging, and remembering — is helpfully, generously meditative as it follows the daily patterns of living these men sustain. Click here for ticket information and complete screening details.
26th Annual AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run, October 3
On October 3, walkers, runners, sponsors, donors and volunteers from across the state joined Honorary Chairs Lance Bass and Michael Turchin in Milwaukee to raise $402,542 to support HIV prevention, care and treatment programs through AIDS Walk Wisconsin and 5K Run.
“Today marks another successful AIDS Walk Wisconsin. We are grateful to the thousands of walkers who joined us, the corporate partners who continue to support us and everyone who donated,” said ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Gifford. “The funds raised today will propel us forward in the fight against AIDS in the year ahead.”
In addition to enhancing resources for HIV programs and services, AIDS Walk Wisconsin raised awareness nationally. Social media exploded with posts, photos and videos from the event. Chairs Lance and Michael were active posting videos and photos, and websites from Hello Magazine to Celebuzz posted photos from the walk/run. AIDS Walk Wisconsin’s own Facebook page was filled with images.
AIDS Walk Wisconsin presented four unique team competitions that challenged groups to raise funds for HIV services. The winner of the Raising the Bar Challenge was Team DIX, raising $47,408. The Raising the Bar Challenge is a friendly competition among taverns from across the state. Team DIX has won the competition four years running. The team from Northwestern Mutual won this year’s Cream City Corporate Challenge, with a fundraising total of $6,269. This challenge is presented in partnership with the Cream City Foundation and is designed to help promote AIDS Walk Wisconsin fundraising and participation among various corporate LGBT resource groups. West Bend High School SAGA raised $573 to win the AIDS Walk Wisconsin High School Challenge. The winner of the Stylists Against AIDS challenge was Get Dolled Up, raising $1,798.
The top individual fundraiser this year was Eric Hamilton from Milwaukee who raised $27,623. Team DIX was also the team that raised the most funds overall.
Winners of the 5K run were Cody Powers (men) and Molly Souder (women).
A very special thank you to AIDS Walk Wisconsin 2015 sponsors: Miller Lite (presenting); Brewers Community Foundation (Grand); Cream City Foundation (Visionary); Gilead, SC Johnson, UnitedHealthcare and ARCW Pharmacy (Major); Time Warner Cable, Fox 6, 103.7 KISS FM, Wisconsin Gazette, Shepherd Express, Clear Channel Outdoor and Direct Media USA (Media); Carnevor, Classy Girl Cupcakes, Starbucks, Performance Running Outfitters, Milwaukee County Parks, Pete’s Fruit Market, Culligan, Northwestern Mutual, PrideFest, Discovery World and Milwaukee Art Museum (in-kind).
Over the past 26 years, more than 125,000 registrants have participated in AIDS Walk Wisconsin and raised more than $12 million. One hundred percent of the pledges raised from AIDS Walk Wisconsin have stayed in Wisconsin to benefit people living with HIV in the state.
Doors Open Milwaukee, September 19, 20
In honor of its 30th anniversary year, ARCW participated in Doors Open Milwaukee September 19th and 20th. This free event provided visitors a unique opportunity to see the ARCW Medical Center and learn more about the ARCW health home – one of the top-performing HIV health care systems in the country. Guided tours of the facility were led by ARCW staff and volunteers greeted visitors in the lobby offering educational and informative direction regarding the services and care provided by ARCW. Over 200 Doors Open visitors had the opportunity to tour the ARCW medical and dental clinics, award- winning food pantry, as well as learn about the history of the current Milwaukee location.
Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon, September 9
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was in Wisconsin to tour the ARCW Milwaukee facility and speak to nearly 200 ARCW donors. During the Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon, an event when ARCW honors donors with cumulative gift histories of $10,000 or more (see video above), the architect of the Affordable Care Act described ARCW as “the leading HIV program in the country.”
The Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon was held at the Wisconsin Club and Sebelius, gave guests an overview of the state of HIV/AIDS health care in our country and compared it to what is happening at ARCW. “You are funding what is cutting edge… I wish the rest of the country looked like this,” she said. The event was part of the ARCW 30th anniversary celebration this year.
Cocktails for a Cause, August 19
The ARCW Junior Board held their 4th annual Cocktails for a Cause fundraiser at Hotel Metro’s Zen on 7 rooftop patio and garden. Featuring live music by local artist Roxie Beane, guests enjoyed rooftop views, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and the chance to bid on silent auction items. This year’s event, sponsored by Taylor Tax Service, LLC, was the largest and raised $4,000 for AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run.
13th Annual AIDS Ride Wisconsin, July 30–August 2
Mile 300: ACT 13 Closing Ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison
The Wisconsin AIDS Ride continues to attract bicycling enthusiasts committed to ending AIDS in its 13th year. This annual 4-day, 300-mile fundraiser began and ended in Madison with an overnight camp set up in Horicon. Each day bikers followed a different route through the scenic Wisconsin countryside. In addition to riding for four days, there is a 1-day, 100-mile ride option on Saturday, the Century Day, as well a weekend ride option on Saturday and Sunday. This fully supported bike tour with accommodations, meals and road support is one of the oldest biking fundraisers supporting HIV prevention, care and treatment in the country. To date, the Ride has raised more than $3.3 million dollars.
Ninety riders, 70 crew members, as well as dozens of other volunteers who supported the event participated in this year’s Ride, raising $182,000, a 3% increase over last year’s ride. The Ride’s top fundraising team was Team Orange, raising $34,097. The top fundraising individual for the Ride was Marylou Ward, raising $12,140.
A special thank you to the Wisconsin AIDS Ride Steering Committee and to event sponsors Machinery Row, Meriter/Physicians Plus, Dean & St. Mary’s and UW Health/Unity.