Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Kevin Burns tells us about ActionAIDS‘ first HIV primary care clinic, which opened earlier this month, and other ways the local nonprofit is making sure no one in Philadelphia has to face AIDS alone.
Who are you? I’m Kevin Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.
When was ActionAIDS founded? In 1986, at a time when governmental and philanthropic support for HIV/AIDS services was nearly non-existent. A group of 84 committed volunteers came together in Philadelphia and formed a community of care for their partners, family and friends with AIDS. ActionAIDS was the result, with a mission statement that read simply: “ActionAIDS believes that no one should face AIDS alone.”
What’s ActionAIDS’s shining moment, to date?: The opening of our West Annex Clinic earlier this month. After many months of planning, we’re excited to have launched our first HIV primary care clinic, in partnership with the Family Practice and Counseling Network. This clinical service will be coordinated closely with our medical case management services, also provided at the West Annex and focused on our clients at high-risk to be lost to care. Our medical case management services are highly effective in retaining clients in care, and the West Annex Clinic will increase our ability to do that. The initial effect of case management services is particularly dramatic: Average viral load drops 76 percent during the first six months.
One-sentence mission statement? ActionAIDS is committed to creating an AIDS-free generation through a combination of proven strategies, including medical case management, HIV testing, prevention education, supportive housing, HIV treatment as prevention, and volunteer services.