October 2017

ARCW is the Only HIV Voice at Congressional Hearing

On Wednesday, October 11, 2017 I was honored to testify before Congress in support of access to health care and lower cost medications for people with HIV.

We often talk about what it will take to get to the end of the HIV epidemic in our lifetime - the federal 340B program that I testified in support of is vital to attaining that goal. The 340B program allows nonprofit healthcare providers like us to reinvest savings from medication purchases into lifesaving health and social services for our patients. The program itself costs nothing to taxpayers, and in fact, leverages millions of dollars in funds to strengthen the fight against AIDS.

Our HIV Medical Home, buoyed by the 340B program, results in people with HIV living longer in Wisconsin than anywhere else in the country. The program has supported opening an opioid treatment program in Green Bay, expanding mental health services through Wisconsin, launching clinical pharmacy care in Denver and increasing the number of patients we care for throughout all our services by 33%.

ARCW was the only AIDS service organization in the nation that was invited to testify before Congress during this important hearing by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. For ARCW, RMC and AIDS service organizations throughout the country, the 340B program is the difference between HIV patients receiving life-saving care or not.

Curtailing the 340B program would substantially undermine the fight against AIDS. It would mean fewer resources, fewer services, patients would become more ill, they would not achieve undetectable viral loads, and there would be new and more HIV infections.

Your support helped ARCW  be the national voice to protect life-saving care for people living with HIV in Wisconsin— and the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. Click here to watch my testimony.

The message to Congress is clear on this one:  The 340B program is not broken, there is no need to fix it!

AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run Raises $406,082

Participants from across Wisconsin ran, walked and volunteered on Saturday, October 7 at the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee to raise $406,082 at the 28th AIDS Walk Wisconsin and 5K Run. Supporters were joined by award-winning actress, singer and comedian, Jane Lynch, who served as the event’s Honorary Chair.

“As long as a cure for AIDS remains unfound, as long as our brothers and sisters continue to suffer, we will walk!” Lynch exclaimed during her address of the crowd. Jane ended her speech with a personal pledge of a $20,000 donation to AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run 2017.

The top fundraising team was the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin Staff, Family & Friends team – raising $42,308 to-date.

AIDS Walk Wisconsin recognized individual walkers and runners, and also awarded unique team competitions that challenged groups to raise funds for HIV services.

The winner of the Raising the Bar Challenge was The Strongest Link II, with Taylor’s Milwaukee bar, raising $7,522. The Raising the Bar Challenge is a friendly competition among bars and night clubs across the state.

The team from Northwestern Mutual won this year’s winner of the annual corporate challenge, with a fundraising total of $8,505. The challenge, sponsored by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is designed to recognize LGBT professionals and their allies in the fight against AIDS. Together, the teams in this challenge raised $23,303.

The top individual fundraiser this year is Michael Bersch from Lake Havasu, AZ who raised $21,200. A Wisconsin native, Bersch, who has participated in this event for 11 years, received the 2017 Philanthropy award from ARCW at the annual Make A Promise gala in April. Having raised a cumulative $129,800, no other AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run registrant has ever raised as much money for this event.

Winners of the 5K run were Josh Bodnar, 22 (men) at 18:08 and Madeline Timm, 23 at 22:46 (women).

This year’s event tied a 2014 record for revenue from corporate sponsorship, including funds from Presenting Sponsor MillerCoors, Premier Sponsor the Brewers Community Foundation; Major Sponsors Gilead Sciences, the ARCW Pharmacy, and SC Johnson Family Company; Champion Sponsors Direct Supply, LabCorp, Associated Bank, Abbott, and the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Click here to see event photos, race times and more!

ARCW & RMC Gear Up for Shortened Open Enrollment Period

This year the Open Enrollment period for the Affordable Health Care Act has been cut in half, running from November 1, to December 15, 2017.  Advertising and marketing for the open enrollment period has also been reduced significantly, making it harder for ARCW and RMC patients to know when they should be enrolling in health insurance for 2018.

In response, ARCW and RMC are expanding efforts to assist individuals enroll in health insurance, by encouraging all patients and clients to make an appointment with a staff member. ARCW & RMC staff will help patients and clients make sure that their current Affordable Care Act plan is still right for them or determine what insurance plan may best suit them.

The State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services awarded ARCW a special grant to assist in outreach efforts and staffing for Open Enrollment. With these funds, new and existing ARCW staff have been and will be:

  • sending discreet mailings to all patients clients encouraging them to make appointments soon
  • actively reviewing an updating lists of current clients with no coverage, making outreach phone calls to schedule appointments
  • arranging incentives statewide for clients who complete the application process
  • running a coordinated advertising campaign including in-office promotion, social media, print and web advertisements
  • educating all staff about Open Enrollment efforts and plans
  • conducting in-depth education of case management staff on the application processes and procedures
  • carrying out follow-up calls to begin the week of Oct 23

Mike Gifford Recognized by UWM for Distinguished Alumni Award

On October 6, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Association honored 27 individuals and organizations at their annual awards event. The 25 alumni award recipients and two corporate partners were chosen for awards based on their outstanding professional achievements, civic involvement and partnerships with the university.

Mike Gifford, ARCW & RMC President and Chief Executive Officer was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni. Mike graduated from the UWM Lubar School of Business with an Executive MBA. He was selected for his award for his service to the HIV community and being a strong proponent for UWM.

Click here to watch the video that featured Mike at the award’s ceremony.

Rocky Mountain CARES Expands Facilities to Meet Patient and Client Needs

The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), Rocky Mountain CARES (RMC) and Denver Infectious Disease Consultants (DIDC) merged on February 1, 2017.

Following the merger, RMC hired 40% more staff and is actively planning for expansions in current and new services. In order to accommodate new staff, services and increasing patient needs, Rocky Mountain CARES recently completed extensive renovations.

The renovations involved improvements to existing facilities and additional work spaces, improvements included:

  • Four exam rooms with space to facilitate Epic use during appointments.
  • One procedure room for anal health evaluation and treatment.
  • Two private consultation rooms.
  • One mental health suite.
  • Improved phlebotomy and laboratory areas.
  • ADA patient bathroom.
  • Enhanced soundproofing in all patient care areas.
  • Remodeled waiting room and check in area.
  • Remodeled team room to improve care coordination activities.
  • The pharmacy was completely enclosed to improve patient privacy.
  • Work surface area for pharmacy operations were more than doubled to ensure efficient operations to improve the customer experience.
  • New phone system.

Staff have also worked diligently since the merger to move from paper health records to Epic electronic health records.

ARCW Offering Regular Testing at Racine LGBT Community Center

Beginning the first week of October the ARCW Prevention Department began offering semi-weekly testing at the LGBT Center of Southeast Wisconsin in Racine.

ARCW staff will be offering free HIV testing every-other Thursday, along with education services, information on PrEP, as well as condoms and other safer sex materials.

Testing will be available in the afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 PM, appointments are not necessary. If you or a friend or family member have questions, please contact (262)657-6644 (262)664-4100.

ARCW Sponsors Film Showing at 32nd Annual LGBT Film Fest

ARCW is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the celebrated new film, BPM (Beats Per Minute), at the 32nd Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival.

The film is an “acclaimed French drama about the activities of ACT-UP in Paris in the 1990s, a film that chronicles with an immersive attention, the group’s actions, their fierce internal debates, and the relationships, passionate and otherwise that bloom within.

Director Robin Campillo, himself a member of ACT-UP starting in April 1992, has made a  daring narrative film that starts in media res, dispassionately depicting the passions that drive this group of mostly young men and women. The film leads with actions but also with all of the protocol and debates. The weekly meeting -- ACT UP's unit of deliberation -- is the compelling center of this film, a moving work of mourning, anger and tribute,” according to the festival.

Click here for more information. Tickets are $5 for the November, 8 screening and can be purchased from the Peck School of the Arts Box Office.

BPM won the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and is France’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

Presented by the UWM Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres, the 32nd Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival runs November 2-12. More info on the full Festival schedule click here.

Frosty Fall Forecasts Fundraising Fun

Following a successful AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run in October, ARCW and RMC invite you to keep the following dates in mind.

Join ARCW and the 32nd Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival on November 8, 2017 for a screening of BMP.

SAVE THE DATE! Jolly Holly Folly will return on Sunday, January 7. More details will be arriving in your inbox soon.

Summer may be over, but there’s no reason not to look forward to spring – and a new season of Camp Bingo! All three dates will be at the Madison Concourse Hotel.
  • Sunday, January 28
  • Sunday, February 25
  • Sunday, March 25

More details and ticket information will be coming soon.

Visit ARCW.org to learn more about upcoming events.

Michael Gifford - Washington D.C. Testimony - 10.11.2017


Michael Gifford: 2017 UWM Distinguished Alumni



  • November 8, 2017 - UW Milwaukee Union Cinema -  BMP Screening
  • January 7 - Marcus Center for the Performing Arts - Jolly Holly Folly
  • January 28 - The Madison Concourse Hotel - Camp Bingo
  • February 25 - The Madison Concourse Hotel - Camp Bingo
  • February 28 - The Remedy Event - La Crosse
  • March 25 - The Madison Concourse Hotel - Camp Bingo