Cleveland.com recently reported that a new affiliation between the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will allow the Cleveland organization to increase medical services for HIV-positive individuals while continuing to provide HIV/AIDS education in Northeast Ohio.
After years of needing to serve an increasing number of HIV-positive people with decreasing funds, the AIDS Taskforce was forced to move its facility last year. The desire to create a one-stop shop for clients, especially to get their HIV medication and have adherence support, pushed the taskforce to seek out a partner.
Knowing AHF’s history of advocacy and expansion, AIDS Taskforce CEO Tracy Jones approached the organization to form a partnership. AHF is the largest US nonprofit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider and recently opened two Ohio-based HIV health and advocacy locations in Columbus.
AHF President Michael Weinstein believes the taskforce knew it was time to ask for assistance and praises Jones for reaching out. Other organizations fail, said Weinstein, because they are in denial about the severity of their financial situation. “The taskforce has a proud history,” Weinstein said. “It was able to pull rabbits out of a hat [when it] was easier to raise private funds.”
In May of this year, the AIDS Taskforce became an official AHF affiliate and now operates with a $2.1 million budget. According to a recent report from the Cleveland Department of Public Health, the number of people with HIV or AIDS in 2012 in Cuyahoga County was more than 4,700, a 3.9-percent increase. “If America is going to win the war against AIDS, it’s going to be fought in every major epicenter of the disease,” Weinstein said. “And Ohio is one of them.”