Living in the Madison area, Debbie relied on the partnership between ARCW, AIDS Network and the UW Hospital Infectious Disease Clinic for her care.
"The Partnership between Dr. Sosman and his great team at UW, my case manager and dentist at ARCW and their housing transportation and food pantry programs saved my life."
Debbie now has an undetectiable viral load for the first time. Today with her renewed health, she is mentoring others living with HIV and participating in the Wisconsin Statewide Action Planning Group to help prioritize and plan HIV prevention and care services.
"When Ruthie told me I had HIV last year I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” said Derrick Brister. “I never imagined I would have HIV, but she was right there to help me out.”
When people first learn they have HIV they often share the same reaction as Derrick. Newly diagnosed patients face serious health issues and have fear about their future. New patients also need immediate access to health care and social services to make sure they have the best chance for long-term survival.
"If I work hard, and with the help of ARCW, I now know I can have a long healthy life.”
After transitioning her health care to the ARCW Medical Center, Pamela began working with an integrated team of health and social service professionals to make sure all of her needs were met.
"Every time I have needed care or support, ARCW has been there for me,” said Pamela.
Pamela now sees the dentist regularly, picks up food every month at the ARCW Food Pantry, never misses an appointment with her physician and with the help of rent assistance has a place to call home.
"ARCW calls to make sure I make all my appointments. When I get low on my medications they make sure I have a new supply before running out. Even after surgery, my case manager visited me at the hospital to make sure everything was okay,” said Pamela. “Honestly, if it weren’t for ARCW, I don’t think I could take care of myself as well as I do.”
Today, Pamela has an undetectable viral load, indicating her HIV is well controlled, and she is helping to raise her grandchildren.
Before James Kelley started coming to ARCW he would drive more than 70 miles round trip to see his health care providers and get his medications.
"I wanted the best health care, even though I don’t have private insurance,” James said. “I thought I had to drive a long way to get it.”
Like many HIV patients at ARCW, James has faced other complex health care problems that have diminished his health. He has had pneumonia, glaucoma and hypertension in addition to living with HIV. The close proximity and integrated health care delivery model of the ARCW Medical Center ensures that these complex problems are identified accurately and treated quickly.
"Since I started coming to ARCW my health has never been better. Because of ARCW I have an undetectable viral load and my blood pressure is under control.”
Four years ago when Shawn Wandahsega learned about PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), he was immediately intrigued. To his surprise, he visited his pharmacy to fill the prescription and learned his insurance did not cover the drug. A year later he revisited his health clinic for an annual exam and explained the problem he faced in gaining access to PrEP. His doctor listened and referred him to ARCW.
“ARCW was instrumental in my quest to stay HIV negative, and their amazing staff helped me every step along the way. Working with the organization was as easy as 1, 2, 3.”
In the midst of experiencing side effects he had routine visits at ARCW that occur every three months when a patient is on PrEP, which are to ensure everything is going smoothly.
“I tell people all the time that if you take PrEP, ARCW has your back 100 percent. You don’t have to worry about your health. What also impresses me about ARCW is the door is open for any and everybody regardless of their race and/or HIV status. I have always felt welcomed here.”
"I always thought that HIV would be my biggest worry,” said Melody Rose. “Thankfully ARCW has treated my HIV well, and has helped me fight all of the other challenges of living with HIV.”
In 2003 when Melody was diagnosed with HIV she did not have insurance, a physician or even a safe place to live. ARCW reached out to her with a team of case managers, medical providers, and a housing specialist. “Everyone at ARCW pitched in to help me,” said Melody.
"My team at ARCW is helping me set goals that will support me in achieving an undetectable viral load. I’m even getting ready to go back to school. Most importantly, though, I know that I can rely on ARCW whenever I need to.”
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