November 2018

Working to Ensure Coverage for 2019 Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act runs from November 1 through December 15 in Missouri and Wisconsin, and through January 15 in Colorado. Staff across the country are working to ensure that every person we serve who needs insurance coverage will get it.

At ARCW, more than 90 percent of the people we serve are living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. As a result of lack of financial resources many people living with HIV are uninsured or underinsured. Navigating the complicated healthcare and insurance systems is a barrier to enrollment and maintaining health insurance and are a large factor that can keep people from remaining or engaging in life saving health care.

In Colorado, the Rocky Mountain CARES insurance coordinator is a Certified Application Counselor for Connect for Health Colorado and will assist the people we serve with enrolling in and renewing insurance plans for 2019. RMC staff are also doing outreach to uninsured people we serve and people needing to renew their plans.

The Saint Louis Effort for AIDS ACCESS Project is a program that includes a team of Certified Application Counselors (CACs) and a team of Federal Navigators (FN) to assist with enrollment in the health insurance marketplace for people who are uninsured or underinsured. These dedicated staff help people throughout Missouri learn about their coverage options and the financial help for which they may qualify. The ACCESS Project is coordinated through a statewide consortium of partnering agencies with leadership from EFA.

In Wisconsin four additional employees have been hired, in addition to the full-time insurance coordinator and financial counselor, to assist people we serve with benefit enrollment and planning. The Milwaukee office will also be offering Saturday appointments for people who are unable to attend meetings during business hours. Walk-in appointments are also available. The financial counselor is available to assist with past due medical bills, as well as coordinate open enrollment with financial assistance options.

If you have questions about Open Enrollment assistance please contact us at for more information.

Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon Welcomes Keynote Speaker Cleve Jones

In celebration of the impact of philanthropy on the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin and the people we serve, we are pleased to announce that the Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon, the ARCW donor recognition event of the year, will take place on Tuesday, December 11. Red Ribbon Patrons are ARCW donors whose cumulative giving meets or exceeds $10,000. The event will take place at Discovery World Museum’s new Pavilion.

This year’s event will feature author and AIDS & LGBT activist, Cleve Jones. Jones joined the gay liberation movement in the early 1970s. He was mentored by pioneering LGBT activist Harvey Milk and worked in Milk’s San Francisco City Hall office as a student intern until Milk’s assassination in 1978.

Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983 and founded The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, one of the world’s largest community arts projects, in 1987. HarperCollins published his first book, Stitching a Revolution, in 2000.

ARCW supporters that are not Red Ribbon Patrons who would like to attend are welcome to purchase a ticket to the event. Contact Laura Emir at 414-225-1544 to learn more.

23rd Annual Jolly Holly Folly to Bring Holiday Cheer and Laughter

Kickoff the holiday season at the 23rd Annual Jolly Holly Folly event at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, November 29. Savor samples from some of Milwaukee’s best restaurants then join us for a performance of Doug Jarecki's comedy 'Twas the Month Before Christmas.

Milwaukee playwright and actor Doug Jarecki delivers a hilarious and heartwarming holiday treat! ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas takes a unique look at Joseph and Mary, the three kings, and the innkeeper, and shares the “other” stories that led to that magical night in Bethlehem. This smart, funny, and sweet production, featuring an all-Milwaukee cast, is sure to put the entire family in the holiday spirit.

Click here for tickets, event information and the most up-to-date listing of participating restaurants.

For corporate sponsorship opportunities, contact Tricia Mallett at or 414.225.1615.

ARCW Leadership to Demonstrate How Integrated Care Impacts Outcomes at National Ryan White Conference

In December, four ARCW leaders will present at the National Ryan White Conference on how the ARCW care model helps people living with HIV achieve optimum health outcomes. The 2018 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment is the largest national conference for HIV care and treatment providers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients, and stakeholders. The conference is sponsored and funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB).

Each of the four ARCW staff members will present over the four day conference on a different area of the ARCW medical home model, and how integrated care results in better health for people living with HIV. ARCW presenters at the conference are Megan Corey, Director of Food Services; Jessica Cushion, Case Manager Supervisor; Angelique Lewis, Director of Behavioral Health & Wellness; and Cheryl Thiede, Senior Director of Social Services.

Each presentation will help attendees:

  • Understand the concept of integrated nutritional services within an HIV Medical Home setting.

  • Understand the potential food services have on retention and opportunities for engaging people living with HIV in care.

  • Strategize ways to integrate a model into their agency/clinic practice.

  • Understand how Electronic Medical Records (EMR) can be used to identify possible individual whereabouts, alternate contact information, and appropriate collateral contacts.

  • Understand how social media can be implemented in order to establish a line of communication with people living with HIV who are transient or difficult-to-reach.

  • Understand the contextual appropriateness of conducting discreet, HIPAA-compliant unannounced home visits.

  • Identify common barriers to ongoing engagement in HIV medical care and possible Case Manager responses to those barriers.

  • Recognize the outcomes of integrating housing and medical case management programs.

  • Define telehealth and its use for psychiatric service delivery.

  • Identify key benefits of using telehealth for PLWH (people living with HIV).

  • Describe key considerations for successful telehealth implementation.

ARCW leads the nation in clinical outcomes for people living with HIV and is dedicated to sharing best practices and information on the many positive outcomes of our unique HIV Medical Home model of care.

ARCW Nutritionist Helps Keep the Holidays Healthy

The holidays can be a challenging time for everyone trying to maintain healthy weight and eating habits. The average American gains between one and two pounds during the holiday season, and for people who are already overweight this number can jump up to five pounds.

This challenge can be even greater for the people we serve who also suffer from comorbidities such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

To help support people living with HIV during the holidays, the ARCW registered dietician is working to help face these challenges head-on. On November 16, Angela Feriozzi hosted a Healthy Holiday Eating seminar for interested individuals.

Topics included tips on how to avoid overeating, understanding caloric and sugar content in popular holiday beverages, and how to cook using healthy recipes that reuse common holiday leftovers that also helps in eliminating food waste, and food safety tips. The presentation was finished with some healthy recipe taste testing, including: garlic cauliflower mash, Greek yogurt ranch dip and pumpkin spice hummus.

Click here to learn more about the ARCW food pantry.

Prevention Staff use Art to Educate and Connect with Brown County Youth

At ARCW, we are proud of all the different HIV prevention and education programs we offer. Unfortunately, health care and public health can be full of acronyms that can occasionally confuse, or even be duplicated. This is certainly true with our two programs, our pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) clinic and our Personal Responsibility Education Program, both commonly are referred to as ‘prep.’

PREP stands for Personal Responsibility Education Program. In Green Bay, ARCW is proud to offer health and relationship education to adolescents in the Brown County Community. This is a Positive Youth Development program, helping youth develop healthy life skills and make positive decisions as they transition into adulthood.

This December 8 at the De Pere Community Center, PREP will host Painting with a Purpose. In keeping with PREP's objective of Positive Youth Development, prevention staff will discuss challenges related to female youth regarding their reproductive health and relationships. As the group discusses these elements, it will work to recognize personal responsibility to adhere to personal beliefs and access internal resources to make positive decisions. As the group talks, they will be following along together as participants paint a picture that, in the end, represents their ability to protect their futures by making smart choices.

This is a free event. Female youth ages 13-19 accompanied by a parent or guardian are welcome. Transgender youth are encouraged to join. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. Email to learn more.

RMC Partners with University of Denver for Testing and Outreach

On October 15 RMC and Denver Public Health (DPH) partnered on a new event at DU (University of Denver). After DU recently had a decrease in funding for STI testing and free prevention outreach, RMC Prevention staff reached out to the university to offer sexual health services and testing to students.

Prevention staff provided rapid HIV testing in the mobile prevention van and DPH provided free STI testing. In all, RMC tested 36 people for HIV in four hours and handed out life-saving HIV prevention information.

The event was well attended and two participants tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases and were able to be linked to care immediately.

Want to know where the van will be next around Denver? Like RMC on Facebook to get the latest information and updates.

ARCW Graphic Designer Featured in National Publication

Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) has been a business-to-business information source for graphic design professionals for 50 years. As a complement to its perennial and popular special report “People to Watch” editorial, they recently released their “Responsible Designers to Watch” list. The 2018 list featured ARCW Graphic Communications Manager, Michael Burmesch.

More and more designers are embracing responsibility in terms of how sustainably they create and produce and print and deliver. But also much more broadly how, when, why and for whom they work.

Michael Burmesch was one of the designers who made the national list. “Right after graduation in the summer of 2008, I lost a friend to AIDS and found that cause. I couldn’t sit still. I became involved by joining an AIDS Walk Wisconsin team that September… Little did I know then, after a few years of captaining our team and raising funds, I would join the ARCW family in May 2011.”

We congratulate Michael on this honor and thank him for his outstanding work. Click here to read more.

ARCW Donors Making the Holidays Bright

This season, friends of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) are joining in the tradition of helping to make the holidays brighter for people we serve and families confronting HIV/AIDS across the state of Wisconsin.

We need your help to make the holidays brighter for over 1,835 people living with HIV this year. Please consider making a special year-end gift to the Roma Hanson Holiday Meal Program to help make the holidays possible for more people living with HIV/AIDS in our community.

Your gift is much more than a holiday meal. You are giving hope and hospitality to thousands of people living with HIV, especially those marginalized by their friends, family, or community.

From all of us at ARCW, we wish you and your families the happiest and healthiest of holiday seasons. Thank you. Click here to support the Roma Hanson Holiday Meal Program.

Events Keeping the Holidays Bright and Kicking Off 2019

All month, and up to November 28, The Club St Louis will be matching donations to Saint Louis Effort AIDS dollar-for-dollar, including funds raised at the Final Push event on November 28. Email James Lesch or like EFA to learn more.

On Thursday, November 29 kickoff the holidays at Jolly Holly Folly at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Enjoy tastings from some of the area’s best restaurants, followed by a performance of ‘Twas the Month Before Christmas. Click here for tickets and information.

On Saturday, December 1 commemorate the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day with an interfaith community service. World AIDS Day remains an important day in the fight against AIDS – a day set aside to reflect on the lives forever changed and lost to AIDS, as well as a day to rededicate ourselves to our common goals of ending the AIDS epidemic and ensuring people with HIV can enjoy long, healthy lives. Click here to learn more.

Winter may just be getting started, but there’s no reason not to look forward to Sunday afternoons and a new season of Camp Bingo! All three dates will be at the Madison Concourse Hotel. Tickets and more information coming soon. Save the dates:

• January 27, Clue Bingo
• February 24, Gods & Goddesses Bingo
• March 24, Under the Sea Bingo

Save The Date! Gear up for spring’s most fabulous gala, Make A Promise! This year’s event will be Saturday, March 30 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. Stay tuned for our fabulous theme announcement and more details.

It’s never too early to start training and fundraising for the 17th Annual AIDS Ride Wisconsin. Visit to register, use code: RERIDE19 to receive an early registration discount. The ride features routes for every fitness level, as well as partial day, single day, and multi-day routes. The Ride kicks off July 26 in Madison, and rides through Sunday the 28.

Community Starrs Shine Light on ARCW

Good things don’t happen by accident. The Starr Group Insurance & Risk Solutions understands the challenges non-profit organizations face: energizing communities, mobilizing volunteers and the funding of missions. That’s why they’ve created “Community Starrs”, a one-of-a-kind donation program to provide a steady stream of donations to nonprofit organizations with the help of the community.

For every combined home and auto policy they write for anyone affiliated with AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, The Starr Group will donate $50 to the organization in the first year. The Starr Group will donate an additional $25 in the second year, as well. What’s more, the insurance agency will do the same for all policies referred to them by any affiliates of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.

The Starr Group also makes donations based on Commercial Insurance and Employee Benefit premiums. In the first year, they will donate 10 percent of their commission on any Commercial Insurance premium over $25,000 and/or on any Employee Benefit premiums over $50,000. The Starr Group will donate an additional 5 percent the second year.

Every affiliate is eligible to help AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin through the “Community Starrs” program. Whether an internal employee, board member, volunteer, an extended family member, friend or donor, everyone has the opportunity to be a “Community Starr” too!  

Contact Brittany Vulich, ARCW Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations to learn more.

EFA Receives Dining Out For Life Impact Award

This April Saint Louis Effort for AIDS presented its 25th Annual Dining Out For Life event. Dining Out For Life is an annual international fundraiser involving the generous participation of volunteers, corporate sponsors and restaurants. On this one day, participating restaurants donate a percentage of sales from breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three meals to their local AIDS organizations. In exchange for their financial support, restaurants are listed in a citywide marketing campaign in an effort to increase customer traffic.

The hallmark anniversary for EFA saw increased restaurant participation from 95 restaurants in 2017 to 115 restaurants this year.

The event is a staple of the culinary community in St. Louis. The who’s-who of the restaurant community participate in this event, including Gerard Craft, who won a James Beard Award for Best Chef in America in 2015, and Kevin Nashan who also won a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest in 2017.

Each year, Dining Out For Life participants are asked to submit a story that shares how their organization creates a positive impact within the community. At the annual Dining Out For Life International Conference Saint Louis Effort for AIDS won the Grand Prize for their impact story.

The story featured a person living with HIV who decided to seek medical treatment, as well as treatment for drug addiction. After engaging in care and volunteering with EFA, they found their calling in social work. At the time of the award they celebrated four years of sobriety.

Mark your calendar for 2019’s Dining Out For Life: Thursday, May 2. Contact James Lesch for more information.

The Felicia Melton-Smyth Holiday Drive Provides Holiday Magic for Children in Need

Every Holiday Season we remember Felicia Melton-Smyth, a woman from Madison who noticed 16 years ago that the only tags left on a local giving tree were those gift requests belonging to people served by the Madison AIDS Network. She took each one of the tags, and rallied the community to help secure Holiday gifts for people living with HIV/AIDS. Melton-Smyth made sure everyone in need had a happy holiday.

Today, the program lives on across Wisconsin in her memory, with the assistance of churches, corporate partners and nonprofit agencies alike that help ARCW provide gifts for every child in need. Corporate sponsors for 2018 include: Shamrock Bar in Madison, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Wells Fargo, FIS, United Way, KAPCO, Blessed Savior Parish in Milwaukee, St Martin of Tours in Franklin, and Little Rascals.

This year ARCW expects to provide gifts to more than 300 families across Wisconsin. The children served provide 2-3 “wishes” on their list. You can extend holiday cheer to someone with HIV/AIDS by purchasing a gift for a child, or a family affected by HIV. Contact for details.

Gifts are respectfully asked to be placed in gift bags with tissue, not wrapped.

AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run 2018

We loved seeing everyone's smiling faces on October 6! Watch the video of the day's festivities, courtesy of the talented Gabbi Cisneros.