Columbus Dispatch (09.27.12)
The AIDS Resource Center Ohio, a nonprofit organization, recently opened the ARC Ohio Medical Center and Pharmacy for HIV-infected adults. The new center is the first in Ohio to provide all-inclusive health care and social services for persons living with HIV. It provides on-site testing, a pharmacy, mental-health counseling, individualized case management, housing assistance, and primary and specialized HIV care from doctors through a partnership with the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. The center, which is located in the Short North, was modeled after similar health facilities in Wisconsin. According to Peggy Anderson, chief operating officer of ARC Ohio, Wisconsin has the lowest HIV death rate in the nation, and this may be due to its comprehensive health services. Bill Hardy, president and CEO of ARC Ohio, notes that Columbus, Ohio, ranks 21st in new infections among U.S. cities. The Ohio Department of Health statistics show that the number of Ohioans living with HIV increased 32 percent (i.e., 16,329) from 2005 to 2009. About 3,500 Franklin County residents are living with HIV. The center will have a sliding-fee scale. Although the services are not free, no one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay. ARC Ohio will also continue its services of free testing at its other offices and partner locations about the city and state.