March/April 2018


ARCW Leads Community Response to HIV/Syphilis News

A report in Milwaukee media related to alarming syphilis, HIV and other STI rates, primarily among young people, is raising considerable attention to the issue of sexual health among young people in Milwaukee. ARCW has been at the forefront of the community’s response, immediately initiating and expanding programs and services to help individuals impacted while also collaborating with city leaders and community-based organizations to address the news.

Among initial efforts, ARCW is operating a hotline for community members to contact professionals to with questions, expanded testing hours and outreach, and added additional advertising on social media and dating apps.

On Tuesday, March 12 ARCW organized a community-wide press conference with the Milwaukee Health Department, public officials and community-based health and social service organizations. Leaders shared how their organizations are providing resources to the community, including education, counseling, testing, access to treatment and ongoing care as needed. This event was widely covered in the media. Click here to see the coverage from the event.

Additionally, ARCW President & Chief Executive Officer Mike Gifford announced a $250,000 fund to catalyze our community’s commitment to attack HIV, STIs, and their root causes. Allies interested in supporting this fund or learning more about it can visit our website. ARCW anticipates making awards to community partners in the coming weeks, underscoring our commitment to working swiftly and thoughtfully to help increase access to prevention, counseling, testing and health care services.

The coming days and weeks are critical to mobilize and protect the health of our youth. More than ever, our community needs your support. Please donate, share our social media posts with your networks, and encourage young people and their parents to seek out sexual healthcare and information.



RMC Enhances Patient Experience with New Staff

Rocky Mountain CARES (RMC) has  added a new insurance coordinator position to assist patients with navigating complex, and often times confusing, health insurance and copayment assistance.

The new coordinator, Ashley Bruehl, specifically assists by:
 

• Guiding patients and clients through purchasing plans on the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace or in applying for Colorado Medicaid

• Enrolling patients and clients in the Health Insurance Assistance Program of the Colorado AIDS Drug Assistance Program (CO ADAP). Co ADAP is a government program that provides access to medications and/or assistance to eligible Colorado residents living with HIV in securing and keeping health insurance on the public and private markets.  Depending on the insurance coverage of the client, financial assistance can include pharmaceutical copays, medical copays and coinsurance, and medical insurance premiums.

• Working with RMC case management, clinic, and pharmacy staff in resolving insurance issues for patients, and also providing training to staff.

Ashley has been passionate about HIV/AIDS advocacy throughout her career. Over the past 13 years, she has been involved in both professional and volunteer work in the field, including prevention, development, event coordination, and client services. When the Affordable Care Act was implemented, she worked as an insurance subsidy program coordinator. Ashley has aspired to work for Rocky Mountain CARES over the years and is uniquely qualified to streamline and improve the RMC patient connection to health insurance, another value added by the team at Rocky Mountain CARES.


ARCW Milwaukee Prevention Department Expands Testing Outreach Efforts

ARCW is expanding its social network testing strategy to better reach African American men who have sex with men (MSM), a group that is disproportionately impacted by HIV.

As a part of our comprehensive HIV prevention efforts, ARCW staff work to identify community members to serve as community-based recruiters who then are responsible for bringing HIV-vulnerable individuals to ARCW for free and confidential testing. Recruiters receive a stipend for each individual who they bring in who then completes an HIV and HCV test that meets testing criteria.

The program is funded through Gilead Sciences FOCUS grant and is part of our efforts to increase the number of HIV and HCV tests completed in 2018. Last December, Gilead Sciences committed to a $150,000 donation to fund aggressive ARCW prevention efforts in southeast Wisconsin.
IF you or someone you know would like to learn more about becoming a recruiter for this important initiative please contact communications@arcw.org

To learn more how you or your company can contribute to prevention efforts in Wisconsin or Colorado, reach Chief Development Officer, Dan Mueller at 414-225-1594.



Make A Promise Goes to Broadway

Meet ARCW on Broadway for our 32nd Annual Make A Promise Gala & Auction Saturday, April 28 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. This year’s theme builds off Broadway’s long reputation as a leader in the fight against AIDS.

For one night only, ARCW brings together the world of theatre along with a world-class auction, fine dining and lively performances.

ARCW is pleased to announce the award recipients for the 32nd Annual Make A Promise Gala. Taking center stage in the fight against AIDS are leaders who are directing change and we honor their efforts.

Philanthropy Award – Broadway CARES/Equity Fights AIDS, Tom Viola, Executive Director, New York, NY

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, BC/EFA has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States since 1988. This year marks the 20th anniversary of its first grant for the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin.

Courage Award – Terry Shelton, Milwaukee, WI

When Terry was diagnosed with HIV 30 years ago, he was handed what he thought was a death sentence. The trauma and stigma of the diagnosis took a serious toll on his health. Terry went from an active Marine and champion kickboxer to struggling with homelessness and mental health issues. He kept his HIV-status a secret for decades—even from his family—and didn’t seek the care he needed. Today, Terry has the care he needs and is looking forward to the birth of his grandson.

Vision Award – William F. Reinicker, Madison, WI

Bestowed on an ARCW donor whose cumulative giving surpasses $1 million, this will be the third time in ARCW’s history this award has been presented. William Reinicker’s support of ARCW has spanned nearly three decades and is the catalyst behind major ARCW renovations of the Milwaukee and Madison medical homes, as well as campaigns that have promoted planned giving. A member of Wisconsin’s LGBT community, Reinicker has made numerous gifts in memory of his life partner, Tommy Schlagenhaft.

The website is now live! Reserve your tickets and table today. All the world’s a stage, some of us just have better seats! Don’t miss out on yours! Stay tuned for information, including updates on the fantastic silent & live auction items.


La Crosse Community Foundation Award ARCW Expansion Grant

The La Crosse Community Foundation recently awarded a grant to ARCW to help offset costs associated with the renovation of the new ARCW office in downtown La Crosse.

Specifically, grant dollars will be allocated toward the buildout of a room to host ARCW telepsychiatry services. Telepsychiatry allows an ARCW behavioral health provider to interface with an ARCW patient regardless of the patient or provider’s location.

Today, more than half of all our patients are confronting mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, stress and addiction. Additionally, many people living with HIV are facing early onset of neurological conditions that are normally seen in much older people. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues are the leading barriers to successful care and reaching an undetectable viral load for patients.  When patients who are facing these challenges are also confronting isolation from living in less-populated areas, or do not have the financial means to travel long distances for their care, telehealth will be able to bring care to them.

Telepsychiatry addresses the challenge of limited provider availability and a geographically dispersed patient population in an innovative, cost-effective, and time efficient manner. Quality mental health services go hand in hand with quality medical care. Together they provide the patients we serve the best opportunity for HIV treatment success.

Click here if you would like to support ARCW efforts like telehealth to meet patient needs and overcome barriers to care.


Spring Events Lead to Summer

On February 28 in La Crosse, community members, volunteers and businesses came together for the annual Remedy Event hosted by The Gatherings. The event raised $12,967 for ARCW. Mark your calendars for the 2019 event on February 27!

Camp Bingo closed out another successful year on Sunday, March 25. In total 1432 people attended all three events and raised $61,6220 for the fight against AIDS. Highlights included the return of Sigfried and Roy, the Comic Camp Justice League and Ahsoka Tano. Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s events, and stay tuned for information on future events.

On Saturday, April 28 nearly 1,000 individuals, donors, business leaders and community members will come together for Make A Promise. This year the event heads to Broadway. Visit our website to purchase tickets and learn more today.

Kick-off Pride weekend in Milwaukee with the year’s most colorful run, the Big Gay 5K. Milwaukee Gay Sports Network is excited to host the 7th annual Big Gay 5K Run/Walk. The event will be held on June 7, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at Veterans Park as a special kick-off event for Pridefest Milwaukee. A portion of proceeds benefit ARCW & AIDS Walk Wisconsin. Click here to register and learn more.

Pump air in your tires, grease your chains and get ready for the 2018 AIDS Ride Wisconsin. The ride will depart from Madison on Friday, July 27 and head toward camp at Carroll University in Waukesha, returning Sunday, July 29 to Madison for the closing ceremonies. Save the dates and make a New Year Resolution to do the AIDS Ride in 2018. There is a route for every level of cycling enthusiast.

Visit arcw.org to learn more about upcoming events.


Popsicle Hill: AIDS Ride Wisconsin

 

CBS 58 Coverage of HIV/Syphilis Social Network


 

Milwaukee Response to HIV-Syphilis Cluster