June 2017

ARCW Announces Jane Lynch as AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run 2017 Honorary Chair

The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) is pleased to announce award-winning actress and singer Jane Lynch will be Honorary Chair of the 28th annual AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run. The event will take place on Saturday, October 7th at the Summerfest Grounds.

“I am proud to join the impressive history of celebrity chairs of this great event. But what excites me even more is the chance to help our friends and neighbors in the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin,” Lynch said.  “I hope that my role as Honorary Chair brings visibility to the fact that this sort of event is still needed. There’s great risk, it seems to me, when the fight against HIV grows increasingly invisible.”

“Jane Lynch has spent much time outside of her career encouraging leadership and rewarding people who give back. We are excited to add Honorary Chair to her list of titles.” said ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Gifford.

Lynch is well known for the role as the cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester in the hit television show Glee and currently as the television host of Hollywood Game Night. Lynch, a Midwesterner, spent 15 years of her early career in Chicago acting in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and The Second City. Her stage work led her to film work and led audiences to hilarious characters from the Christopher Guest movies Best In Show to A Mighty Wind, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to name a few. However, it was her role as Julia Child’s sister in Julie and Julia that triggered Entertainment Weekly to dedicate an article to the possibility of recognizing Jane Lynch with an Academy Award nomination. She made her Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan in the revival of Annie in 2013.

Lynch has served as host of VH1’s DoSomething Awards, which celebrated and encouraged young people to become active citizens and leaders while also making community involvement fun. Lynch has sponsored animal adoption events in California. She received an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts in 2012 from Smith College.

Over the past 27 years, more than 126,000 registrants have participated in AIDS Walk Wisconsin raising more than $12.7 million. One hundred percent of the pledges raised from AIDS Walk Wisconsin stayed in Wisconsin to benefit people living with HIV in the state.

“The demands of the AIDS epidemic are at an all-time high,” said Gifford. “More people than ever before are living with HIV in our state and many of them are confronting this expensive disease while living in deep poverty and increased economic uncertainty. AIDS Walk Wisconsin and 5K Run shows our patients that our participants, our core of fund raisers, continue to make the difference in their lives so they have somewhere to turn to for care and treatment to live long and healthy lives with HIV.”

The walk is free, and there is a $30 registration fee for the 5K run. Registrants who raise pledges will win exciting prizes. Those who wish to participate can register online at aidswalkwis.org or over the phone at 800.348.WALK (9255).

If The Shoe Fits

After 34 years of service to the fight against AIDS, and 24 years working at ARCW, F.M. “Mike” Fitzpatrick is taking his very well-deserved retirement. He left his colleagues at ARCW with some parting words:

I first started working in 1993 for the predecessor agency that later became part of ARCW,  after ten years of volunteer work and helping start two agencies in Central Wisconsin to help people living (and at that time – dying) with HIV/AIDS.

At my initial performance review I told my boss that my case manager job was a perfect fit for the passion that HIV had given me.

I have always said that AIDS chose me back in 1984 when one of my employees came to tell me of his diagnosis, something that we had talked about two years earlier.

I told her: “I feel like Cinderella – I put on the glass slipper and it fit!”

A week later the Disney Princess pictured above was sitting on my desk.

It has been in my office every day since then. As I wrap up the work in front of me for the last time, I find that the glass slipper still fits perfectly.

But Midnight has struck and it is time for a bit of the Magic to end.

You may be familiar with that Confucian adage:

“A man who loves his job never works a day in his life.”

Though that thought at time has been sorely tested, it mostly holds true for me.

And that is because of all of you - I have been privileged to share this journey with some of the most loving, caring, inventive, joyful, professional and compassionate people that Wisconsin has to offer.

My clients may be the fire that brings me to work, but it is my co-workers’ caring camaraderie that has warmed me daily for the last 24 years.

Thank you for all you have done for me!

My fire for helping those living with HIV continues to burn.

After today it will be finding a new way to shine.

Thanks and farewell.

We thank Mike for his tireless years of service in the fight against AIDS and wish him well.

ARCW Medical Director to Lead Industry Training on Treating Older HIV/AIDS Population

On June 20, in conjunction with the National Center of Innovation in HIV Care, The Fenway Institute and the Medical College of Wisconsin, ARCW Medical Director, Leslie Cockerham lead an in-depth webinar on aging among adults with HIV and issues affecting long-term survivors. The training was initiated by Sean Cahill, PhD, a leading expert in HIV care and treatment from the Fenway Institute in Boston and partner with ARCW in the National Center for Innovation in HIV Care.

Thanks to the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapies, half of people living with HIV in the United States are age 50 or older. While longer life expectancy is the ideal outcome, growing older and living longer with HIV brings new challenges, including:

  • Comorbidities
  • Behavioral health issues
  • Lipodystrophy
  • The need for culturally competent and affirming health care, especially from non-infectious disease specialists

Health care and social service providers working with HIV patients can take a number of steps to support older HIV patients and long-term survivors to age successfully. Efforts can also be made to reduce vulnerability to infection among older adults by prevention education.
The webinar focused on increasing knowledge and understanding of physical and psychosocial aspects of HIV, aging and being a long-term HIV patient; identifying strategies for health care providers and AIDS service organizations to address the needs of older adults with HIV; and identifying steps that policy makers and service providers can take to reduce social isolation and promote resiliency among these two populations. 

ARCW is a founding member of the National Center for Innovation in HIV Care. The Center provides free training and technical assistance to Ryan White-funded AIDS service organizations and community-based organizations to help them navigate the changing health care landscape. The Center also helps organizations develop strategies to improve operational effectiveness and implement best practices to optimize outcomes along the continuum of HIV care.

ARCW and RMC PrEPped For Pride

ARCW and Rocky Mountain CARES want to ensure that community members are “PrEPared” for Pride celebrations across the country.

In Milwaukee, ARCW kicked off the Pride Season with two pre-Pride events through a partnership with Milwaukee Pride. The two community events gave people interested in learning more about PrEP an opportunity to meet with ARCW staff and providers to ask any questions they had about PrEP, medical screenings and coverage.

Staff were on-hand for the entire run of PrideFest in Milwaukee, which took place June 9, 10 & 11. Madison staff also were present in that community at Fruit Fest doing PrEP and Prevention outreach.

RMC staff volunteered with the Colorado Health Department’s Proud to Be PrEPPED activities for Denver Pride, June, 17 & 18. Staff answered questions about PrEP, testing, and coverage. They also rode on the PrEP float in the Denver Pride Parade, and volunteered at the Proud to be PrEPPED art installation at Civic Center Park in Denver.

Altogether, more than 30 individuals have taken steps to access PrEP at Pride events so far this summer, with more outreach planned. Countless others have visited ARCW and RMC booths at community events, listened to provider talks about PrEP or accessed more information about PrEP through ARCW and RMC social media and websites.

If you would like to learn more about PrEP or support uninsured PrEP patients please visit our website.

ARCW, Milwaukee Art Museum Donors Tour Art AIDS America Chicago

Photo Courtesy of Paul Masterson

This past spring, donors of ARCW and the Milwaukee Art Museum were able to take advantage of a unique exhibit that was more than a decade in the making.

Despite more than 11 years of curatorial work assembling art that tells an important story, 200 United States museums declined to show the exhibit Art AIDS America. According to co-curator Jonathan David Katz, they thought the topic was “too controversial.” Only the Bronx and Tacoma Museums, the exhibit’s organizers, had hosted the show until Chicago’s Alphawood Foundation stepped in to bring the exhibit to the Midwest.

The Alphawood Foundation supports of both the arts and people living with HIV/AIDS. The Foundation purchased a building and renovated it with the express purpose of bringing Art AIDS America to the area.  The free exhibit opened to the public on World AIDS Day December 1, 2016.

In March Katz, who is also Director of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at University at Buffalo (The State University of New York), spoke with a group of Milwaukeeans and then gave them a private tour of the exhibit. No apologies were made for the unflinching look at the AIDS epidemic through art, nor for the tension the exhibit created between beauty and utter loss. These attendees, donors of ARCW and the Milwaukee Art Museum didn’t come to Lincoln Park’s Alphawood Gallery looking for anything but a candid assessment of the epidemic through art. More than 100 works from artists like Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer and Roger Brown were on display. 

The trip was made possible through the generosity of Joseph Pabst, ally to both the Milwaukee Art Museum and ARCW and recipient of the 2010 ARCW Philanthropy Award.

Linkage to Care Keeps At-Risk Patients from Falling Out of Care

ARCW is continually striving to improve patient outcomes, including ongoing efforts to have all patients and clients reach an undetectable viral load, the healthiest a person can be while living with HIV. Many patients who have not yet reached this benchmark may be newly diagnosed, or have fallen out of regular care. To meet the particular needs of these individuals ARCW operates a Linkage to Care program.

The purpose of Linkage to Care is to help people get and stay in medical care for their HIV. Different from other case management programs, Linkage to Care Specialists have smaller caseloads in order to provide more intensive services.  Specialists are more easily accessible for spontaneous client needs and to respond to the needs of individuals who are very newly diagnosed. . They are also equipped to meet clients where it’s convenient for them – in their homes, in a coffee shop near their house, or at their doctor’s office (if their provider is not at ARCW).

The program is designed to work with three populations:
  • The first group are newly diagnosed patients. The goal with this group is to ensure ARCW staff will be at the confirmatory appointment when people get their HIV test results to ensure people who test positive for HIV are engaged in care quickly.
  • The second group are patients who have fallen out of care. Individuals living with HIV who have not seen a provider within the last 6 months are considered to be “out of care.”  Generally people fall out of care for reasons such as unstable housing, unmanaged mental health concerns or as a result of addiction issues.  Linkage to Care staff work with these clients to address those barriers with the ultimate goal of getting them back into regular HIV care as soon as possible.
  • The third population addressed specifically though linkage to care are individuals who are coming out of incarceration. HIV-positive people coming out of long term prison sentences need to establish care in the community.

If you or someone you know has fallen out of care, please visit arcw.org to learn more.

Summer Events are Sizzling

Summer is off to colorful start. Things kicked off with the annual Big Gay 5K on Thursday, June 8. The event organized by the Milwaukee Gay Sports Network donates a portion of proceeds to ARCW and AIDS Walk Wisconsin. Registrations were up this year with 111 runners.

Nothing says summer like a cook out – if you are in the La Crosse area stop at the Village Festival Brat Farm on Sunday, June 25 between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM for Brats & Burgers – a cookout to benefit ARCW, organized by the producers of The Remedy Event.

Be sure to fill up your tires and grab your helmet – AIDS Ride Wisconsin- ACT 15 is almost here! The ride rolls out of Madison on Friday, July 28 and into the Carroll University campus where participants and crew will have their base camp. Not able to ride the full 250 miles? We have a route for you. To learn more and to register visit AIDSRideWis.org. Not only will the ride reach the Milwaukee-area for the first time in its history, the top three fundraisers for the ride will be invited to meet AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run 2017 Honorary Chair Jane Lynch at the walk on October 7.

Support ARCW on August 20 at the Second Annual Red Hot and Leather event. The event is organized by a local volunteer with help from the Brew City Sisters, and features food, drinks, raffle items, a 50/50 raffle and entertainment. Ticket information coming soon.

Throw on your best track suit, shine your whistle and grab your bull horn to meet 2017 Honorary Chair Jane Lynch at AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run at Milwaukee’s Summerfest Grounds on Saturday, October 7! Visit aidswalkwis.org or call 800.348.WALK (9255) to register.

Save the date! The 2018 date for The Remedy Event has been set, February 28. Stay tuned for more details!

Donate Your Garden

For many, summer is the time to get outside, dig in and spend time in the garden. Often people may end up harvesting more produce than they are able to use.

If you are in the Green Bay area and wondering what to do with your extra, home-grown produce, consider donating it to the ARCW Food Pantry in Green Bay.

The initiative by the Brown County UW-Extension is being supported by the Green Bay Packers. Read more here. A recent “Planting For A Purpose” event encouraged local gardeners to learn about food pantries they could donate to, which included ARCW.

If you would like to donate your garden grown produce or learn more, please contact communications@arcw.org.

A Pride Kickoff Message From Mike Gifford


Announcing AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run 2017 Honorary Chair Jane Lynch!