August 2018


AIDS Ride Wisconsin Raises Six Percent More Than Previous Year

Friday, July 27, AIDS Ride Wisconsin – ACT 16 kicked-off in Madison. Over three days, 111 participants traveled a total of 250 miles, from Madison to Milwaukee and back to Madison.

Saturday’s Century Day took place exclusively in the Milwaukee-area. Riders took-off from Carroll University and then made their way to Franklin, Racine, Big Bend and Muskego before heading back to camp.
Sunday, July 29 participants gathered back at Lake Farm Park where the ride had begun to celebrate raising more than $108,000 to support quality HIV prevention, healthcare and social services in Wisconsin; a nearly six percent increase over last year.

The top team, Team Orange, raised $16,911 and the top fundraiser was Kristin Matthews who raised $10,295.

There is still time to participate and raise funds. The deadline for fundraising and to qualify for incentives is September 15.

Work on the 2019 event is already well underway. Registration for next year’s ride is open at aidsridewis.org use the code: RERIDE19 to receive an early bird discount on the registration fee.

Thank you to all of the sponsors, riders, crew and volunteers who made this years’ event a success.


RMC Mobilizes Prevention Program


Rocky Mountain CARES (RMC) has kicked off a mobile HIV prevention program. In an effort to increase HIV testing and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) access, RMC recently purchased a van that is specially-outfitted for the Prevention Program.

The mobile program will provide HIV testing, prevention counseling and education, and PrEP consultations and navigation. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, is an HIV prevention strategy for people who are at high risk for HIV. People using PrEP take a single pill every day, which is over 90 ninety percent effective at preventing them from contracting HIV. In Colorado, there are excellent programs to help cover the cost of PrEP for individuals without insurance or with high copays or deductibles. 

The mobile program is available within the Denver Metro area and surrounding communities. RMC intends to meet individuals where they are, or at a location most convenient to them.

“It is not always easy to get transportation to testing sites and it becomes increasingly difficult as the colder months arrive,” said Karin Sabey, Vice President of Operations at RMC. “The time it takes to travel and then undergo testing at a stationary site may impact work or other personal situations. Mobile testing is more convenient for many in the community. Additionally, it is free. Until a cure for HIV is found, helping individuals protect themselves is our greatest challenge.”

To make an appointment individuals can call or text 720-338-8728. RMC encourages everyone to make an appointment for HIV testing if they are not already living with HIV and/or:

  • Have had multiple sex partners within the last 12 months
  • Not used condoms with sexual partner(s)
  • Shared injection drug equipment with others
  • Have exchanged sex for anything of value

People who are unsure if HIV testing is right for them are encouraged to call and ask for more information. If RMC is unable to meet with someone for HIV testing due to availability or distance, our prevention specialists will help connect them to other free testing resources within their community.



HIV in Real Life

June 27, National HIV Testing Day, the Wisconsin State HIV Program launched the “HIV in Real Life,” media campaign.

The community-focused campaign addresses HIV stigma, and promotes the message that HIV has changed and the community needs to update their ideas on what HIV looks like in 2018. Ads can be seen around Milwaukee County. ARCW will be sharing the campaign across its digital and social media as well.

The website HIVinRealLife.org provides resources and guides related to HIV care, treatment and prevention. There are also resources related to fighting stigma. Visit the website to learn more.


Undetectable = Untransmittable, ARCW Tackles Treatment as Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people living with HIV who have an undetectable viral load have essentially no risk of transmitting HIV to another person.

This conclusion was reached based on three studies, which included thousands of couples and tens of thousands of acts of sex and no HIV transmissions to an HIV negative partner when viral load was less than 200. The finding that U=U, or undetectable = untransmittable, was endorsed by the CDC in September 2017.  The CDC letter follows the U=U consensus statement, backed by over 545 medical and community-based organizations in 70 countries.

Having an undetectable viral load is the healthiest a person can be living with HIV. At ARCW, ninety-one  percent of the people we serve have achieved an undetectable viral load. Not only does this mean their HIV treatment is at its optimal level, it also means it is almost impossible for that person to spread HIV. People with HIV who maintain viral suppression for at least six months have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex.

ARCW will be working with the people living with HIV we serve to help promote this message. It is the hope this will reduce stigma around HIV transmission, as well as increase undetectable rates.


RMC Passes Critical Review to Ensure Patient Access



On July 9, Rocky Mountain CARES Pharmacy successfully passed the specialty pharmacy credentialing process required by Express Scripts Insurance.

By passing the credentialing, RMC can continue to serve over 300 people with Express Scripts. The CARES Pharmacy team can continue serving all patients receiving specialty medications through Express Scripts and its affiliated insurance plans. This will also ensure a $7 million revenue stream that is put back into medical home care.

The CARES Pharmacy team is also currently pursuing a HIV specialty accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). This accreditation is regarded as one of the key benchmarks for measuring the quality of specialty pharmacies throughout the country, and will drive continuous improvement at CARES pharmacy.


ARCW Introduces New Financial Counseling Program

Over the summer, ARCW introduced a new financial counseling program to help patients achieve financial and personal stability. This stability is an important key to successful HIV treatment.

The program provides advice and planning services for healthcare bills and expenses, budgeting, accessing financial assistance outside ARCW, advocating for medical expenses, and connecting people with healthcare resources to help lower costs.

This program allows people to focus on what is most important: their health. Email us at communications@arcw.org if you have questions or would like to learn more about the Financial Counseling Program.
 



You Can Help Put an End to the AIDS Epidemic

I know people who are HIV positive, and I also know that could have been my status if I hadn’t taken the necessary steps to protect myself. Without your support, I would not have had the financial means to pay for the medication. I am a young, recent college graduate, and just starting my career. Any cost associated with PrEP would have been a major barrier for me.
–Jamal, PrEP Advocate


A simple pill is the newest and most promising prevention strategy in the fight against AIDS. If taken daily, PrEP (or pre-exposure prophylaxis) blocks HIV from replicating itself and prevents the virus from taking hold and spreading in the body. It is also over ninety percent effective in preventing HIV. But, there are more young people like Jamal who we can’t yet reach simply because we don’t have the resources to reach out to every person at risk for HIV.

That is why we launched our special Campaign for PrEP. With your support, we have raised nearly half our goal. Read more about how this special initiative is helping put a stop to the spread of HIV.

In Wisconsin, more than 10,000 people are at great risk for HIV. One in six gay men are likely to contract HIV in their lifetime. Even more unacceptable, one in two black, gay men will likely become HIV-positive. Poverty, discrimination, racism, opioid addiction and stigma continue to make our communities vulnerable to HIV and drive the epidemic. And for communities most at risk for HIV, young people who have never grown up in a world without AIDS have come to view the fear and deadly effects of HIV as part of life.

Our target is to open four more PrEP clinics over the next two years. Since launching the campaign at the 2018 Make A Promise Gala and Auction this past April, we have raised over 40 percent of our campaign goal.

Your support for our special Campaign for PrEP is helping extend access to lifesaving treatment—giving young people the chance to protect their health and build a brighter future for themselves and their community. You can learn more about the Campaign for PrEP and make a gift by clicking here.


ARCW Gears Up Students for New School Year



Each fall, ARCW collects much-needed school supplies for the children of our patients and clients. For HIV positive parents, the costs of their medical expenses can get in the way of affording school supplies for their kids.

This year the community support was exceptional. Longtime ARCW friend and ally Direct Supply  donated 150 backpacks and school supplies to the drive. Initially this was to fulfill all requests, but ARCW received 50 percent more requests than in 2017.

Individuals and groups stepped up to the plate to help fill the gap. The Brew City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are collecting school supplies through the end of August to help meet the need.

If you would like to get involved, please email communciations@arcw.org to donate to our School Supply Drive.


After a Busy Summer, a Busy Fall is On the Way

Summer may be simmering down, but fall events are just around the corner.

On July 27, AIDS Ride Wisconsin – ACT 16 kicked off in Madison. Over three days, 111 participants traveled a total of 250 miles, from Madison to Milwaukee and back to Madison. The event raised more than $108,000 to support quality HIV healthcare and social services in Wisconsin; a nearly 6 percent increase over last year.

On Saturday, August 11 friends, allies and supporters gathered from across the state at the Common Wealth Gallery in Madison to celebrate the life and work of Jimi Reinke. ARCW staff member Reinke was tirelessly devoted to the mission of ARCW and its prevention efforts. Jimi passed away July 8, 2017, after losing a courageous battle with cancer. Jimi was a well-respected, cherished ARCW employee of nearly 16 years. The retrospective art exhibit and fundraiser benefitted ARCW and raised over $5,000 to continue Jimi’s good works.

Wednesday, August 22, the ARCW Junior Board hosted its Sixth Annual Happy Hour Benefit to raise critical funds for the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin. The event featured beer, signature cocktails, food and fantastic raffle prizes. The event raised $2204. Email development@arcw.org if you’d like to learn more about the Junior Board.

The Abbey of the Brew City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence hosted its annual Red Dress Party fundraiser Sunday, August 26. The event featured food, a silent auction, raffles and a great show with Fabulous Entertainers. Proceeds will be donated toward the fight against AIDS in Milwaukee.

The Remedy Event headed to Eau Claire on August 29. The Gathering Events hosted its second event on the heels of its successful Remedy Event in the spring called Remedy Event 2.0. Gatherings Event hosted this upscale event to support the prevention care and treatment programs at ARCW. The event featured raffles, a silent auction, samples from vendors, and a live auction with one of the area's best auctioneers. Guests enjoyed music from up-and-coming local celebrities, a drag show from some of the area's most handsome and glamorous royalty, and wrapped up the night with a local keynote speaker.

One of AIDS Walk’s most-popular fundraisers ARTPOP! returns on Sunday, September 30. Local artists will create hundreds of pieces of original art on blocks of wood to raise funds for the Strongest Link II team for AIDS Walk Wisconsin.

Saturday, October 6 is the date for AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run 2018. Join Honorary Chair Matt Bomer at the Summerfest grounds. Visit aidswalkwis.org to register or for more information. Grand Walkers and individual participants who raise $1,000 or more will have their photo taken with Matt Bomer on October 6!


You Can Leave a Legacy and Help Meet a Special Challenge

You Can Leave a Legacy and Help Meet a Special Challenge

F.M. “Mike” Fitzpatrick informed us that ARCW was included in his estate plans—and William Reinicker matched his announcement with an immediate gift of $1,000.

You, too, can support this unique funding opportunity. When you include ARCW in your estate plans and tell us about it, William Reinicker, a longtime ally of ARCW, will make an immediate contribution of $1,000 to ARCW, up to $10,000. It’s a simple way to ensure the strength of ARCW in the fight against AIDS into the future.

Learn how others are making an impact through their acts of giving to ARCW and helping to take advantage of this unique funding opportunity.

F.M. “Mike” Fitzpatrick
How did you first hear about ARCW?
I was an employer and first became involved with AIDS work in the 1980s. One of my employees came to me in 1984 telling me he was diagnosed with the disease.  My employee asked me if he should quit and I said no. After this, I helped to cofound a human services wing organization called the Central Wisconsin AIDS support group. 

Why did you decide to include ARCW in your estate plans?
ARCW has been in my estate plans for quite some time because even though I am retired, the fire I have for helping people living with HIV is not going away. I truly believe that ARCW does the best job it can possibly do for the HIV clients it serves in this part of the world. ARCW and helping people with HIV is close to my heart.

What is your hope for the future of ARCW?
I would hope that there will eventually no longer be a need for ARCW.  That is the mission, to have a world without HIV/AIDS, and we have certainly come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  We have seen that in Wisconsin, there is now a decrease in the number of people who are becoming diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, but we are still having new infections in the thousands every year. 

Betty Tolbert
Before passing, Betty Tolbert met with her attorney to discuss her estate plans. “She came prepared with a list of charities,” her attorney said. “She was very quiet about the reasons behind her decisions but her son, Jimmy, passed at a time when it was difficult for Betty to talk about HIV/AIDS.  I knew her decision to include ARCW in her estate plans was her way of honoring her son.”

James, or “Jimmy,” was the first in the family to earn a professional degree. He earned a law degree in California in the early 80s. Jimmy was a source of pride for the Tolbert family. Shortly after graduating, Jimmy was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. He passed in 1989.

Michael Simonini
Why did you decide to include ARCW in your estate plans?
ARCW provided care and treatment to Eugenio before he passed. After he passed, ARCW helped provide counseling. It was this personal experience that inspired the decision to include ARCW in our estate plans. I know our support will help extend care and treatment to those who might not be able to afford it.

What is your hope for the future of ARCW?
This is a worthy cause for people who may not have a personal connection to HIV/AIDS. I think about the outstanding people we have lost to HIV/AIDS and what their impact could have been on our world. I believe we can end this disease by investing in extending care and treatment to everyone and promoting prevention and awareness.

A Special Challenge to You
By informing us that ARCW has a place in your estate plans, you, too, can leave a legacy and take advantage of a unique funding opportunity.
You can learn more or inform us if ARCW has a place in your plans by clicking here.


Campaign For PrEP

Click here to support the the Campaign For PrEP.