CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following the observation of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Saturday, February 7th, South Side Help Center (SSHC) is pleased to announce that it is expanding its capacity to provide critical services to those affected by HIV/AIDS on Chicago’s South Side—where the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is one of the highest in Chicago (Healthy Chicago STI/HIV Surveillance Report, Fall 2011, Fig. 2., P #8) by affiliating with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). The affiliation between the two organizations, each of which serves HIV-positive clients with a wide variety of free services, is effective immediately.
For nearly 30 years, South Side Help Center has provided critical services for HIV-positive individuals. Initially founded in 1987 with the goal of educating the African-American religious community so it could be sensitive to the needs of people dying from HIV/AIDS, SSHC’s services have evolved beyond HIV prevention to include direct care services and a comprehensive range of Youth and Capacity Building programs that serve minorities at greatest risk across in the area. AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a global organization that provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to more than 382,000 people in 36 countries. AHF is also the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States, currently providing services in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
HIV/AIDS in the African-American Community and in Chicago
Although African-Americans make up only 12% of the population, they account for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents ages 13 years or older. According to the CDC's last census in 2010: 36% of an estimated 29,800 new HIV infections were among African-American gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and African-American women accounted for 6,100 (29%) of the estimated new HIV infections among all adult and adolescents, with most new HIV infections among African-American women (87% or 5,300) being attributed to heterosexual contact.
“Through this affiliation, South Side Help Center will be able to strengthen the vital services we have provided to our community for years and we will be able to offer more services to greater numbers of people in need. The affiliation also helps ensure the longevity of SSHC as well as continuity of the lifesaving programs provided to Chicagoans in need,” said Vanessa Smith, Executive Director of the South Side Help Center. “SSHC and AHF are jointly committed to addressing the needs of the underserved and marginalized and, particularly, the African-American and other communities of color living in Chicago. These communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by rising rates of infection while having access to fewer resources needed to staunch the epidemic. I am honored to now work together with AHF in this exciting new collaboration.”
The SSHC/AHF affiliation was finalized and is being formally announced on the heels of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Feb. 7) as well as the official media launch of AHF’s new AHF Black AIDS Crisis Taskforce, known as ABACT, which was unveiled in a gala event Saturday, February 7th in Beverly Hills, California. ABACT is an independent group comprised of diverse, talented and experienced agency and community leaders who will focus on strengthening the people and organizations who serve communities of color through the United States and beyond. Its mission centers on ensuring that access to care and support for all of those impacted by HIV/AIDS is significantly expanded here in Chicago and throughout the United States.
“Because of AHF's unique position both as an advocacy organization and as the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States, we—together with SCHC and other affiliates and partners—are in a prime position to develop something revolutionary to stop the spread of HIV, particularly amongst the African-American community,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Likewise, SSHC’s rich legacy of success in serving the African-American community in Chicago will significantly enhance our collective efforts to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in Chicago and the surrounding communities. This is one reason I am so pleased to announce this affiliation between South Side Help Center and AHF. And to further bolster our efforts, AHF has also just opened a brand new healthcare center on the South Side of Chicago in order to better serve the clients of SSHC and the people of the South Side, where healthcare access points for quality HIV care have been lacking.”
AHF Also Opens its First Healthcare Center in Illinois—AHF Healthcare Center-Chicago
In addition to its affiliation with the South Side Help Center, AIDS Healthcare Foundation is proud to announce its support of public health in the greater Chicago area with the opening of its first specialized HIV clinic in Illinois. The AHF Healthcare Center—Chicago, at 2600 S. Michigan Avenue, began offering specialized, client-centered HIV/AIDS medical care and services through its South Side storefront location beginning mid-January. Dr. Kaleo Staszkow serves as Medical Director at the healthcare center, which now operates two days per week—Mondays & Thursdays. Additional days and hours will be added as the clinic census grows.
AHF HEALTHCARE CENTER—CHICAGO
2600 South Michigan Ave, Suite LL-D
Chicago, IL 60616
Mondays and Thursdays, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
(Closed from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm for lunch)
Medical Director: Dr. Kaleo Staszkow
Phone: (312) 881-3050
Fax: (312) 881-3051
“This new AHF Healthcare Center—our first in Illinois—offers a great opportunity for us to deliver quality medical care and services to underserved communities on the South Side of Chicago and surrounding areas that have long faced a disproportionate impact from HIV/AIDS,” said Dr. Michael Wohlfeiler, JD, MD, AAHIVMS and Chief of Medicine for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “This, taken together with news of our newfound affiliation with the South Side Help Center, with its decades long history of service to the community, presents a unique chance for us working together as partners to expand and improve the delivery of such services to the community in the community.”
AHF Healthcare Centers aim to decrease the number of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses by providing:
- Free HIV testing so people can be aware of their status;
- Immediate linkage into care – regardless of ability to pay – for those who test positive; and
- Support through ongoing follow-ups to ensure adherence to a health regimen that will ultimately extend life expectancies and reduce the risk of transmission.
AHF operates more than 43 Healthcare Centers throughout the United States – in Florida, California, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Nevada Washington, D.C. and the state of Washington – and many more in the countries where AHF works throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. More information about Healthcare Center services and locations can be found at www.hivcare.org.
Since 1987, South Side Help Center has been working to help provide people with positive and healthy alternatives. Though SSHC was initially founded with the goal of educating the African-American religious community so it could be sensitive to the needs of people dying from HIV/AIDS, our services have evolved beyond HIV prevention to include direct care services and a comprehensive range of Youth and Capacity Building programs that serve minorities at greatest risk across the city of Chicago, State of Illinois and Midwest Region of the United States.
From helping the homeless, to creating and implementing cutting-edge substance abuse and violence prevention programs, to providing mental health counseling and HIV education for men, women and youth, SSHC has been Living Our Mission, Serving People and Strengthening Communities.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 382,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter & Instagram: @AIDSHealthcare.