AOC and AHF to Join Forces in North Texas

New affiliation between AIDS Outreach Center (AOC) and AIDS
Healthcare Foundation (AHF) seeks to improve delivery of prevention and
lifesaving HIV/AIDS care and services in eight North Texas counties

FORT WORTH, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Outreach Center (AOC)
and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)—each
with over thirty years of community service and experience to draw
on—are expanding their capacity to provide critical lifesaving services
to those affected by HIV/AIDS as well as HIV prevention and testing
services throughout North Texas. The two respected AIDS service
organizations, which began co-locating services at some locations in the
Fort Worth area in 2012, are now joining together in a more formal
affiliation.


“AOC and AHF each have long and respected histories of service to the
community and similar philosophies and missions. Co-locating our
services at some sites, which began in 2012, has worked beautifully,
helping us meet clients’ needs more immediately and allowing us to
engage and retain folks in care, leading to improved health outcomes.
Taking stock, we decided it would in the best interest of the clients
and communities we serve, as well as both organizations to form a
stronger, more formal affiliation,” said Shannon Hilgart,
Executive Director of AIDS Service Center. “To be clear, AIDS Outreach
Center will remain an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization and keep
its identity—well-deserved after our thirty years of service. But now,
we will be able to address needs in our communities in North Texas that
we would never have been able to without this partnership. We are
honored to work with AHF in this exciting new collaboration.”

“Both AHF and AOC share a common mission to stop the spread of HIV and
improve the lives of all people living with HIV/AIDS and other
disenfranchised and underserved populations,” said Bret Camp, Texas
Regional Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Each organization has
a long history of providing such services: AOC was founded in 1986 and
AHF in 1987, a time when the AIDS epidemic was claiming the lives of
thousands of men and women across the country and drugs to control the
virus were few, new and experimental. This affiliation allows both
organizations to continue to leverage our respective strengths to better
serve the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout North Texas.”

Both organizations serve HIV-positive clients with a wide variety of
free or low-cost services.

Each year, AOC staff and volunteers provide services to over 1,600
people living with HIV/AIDS, and education to over 3,000 people in eight
North Texas counties. AOC services include: housing and insurance
assistance, case management, mental health and substance abuse services,
a dental clinic, a food bank, transportation services and support
groups. AOC’s community health services include free HIV and syphilis
testing and low-cost testing for other STIs, individual risk reduction
counseling, and linkage to care services. Most services are free of
charge. Fees are based on income sliding scale.

AHF is a global organization that provides cutting-edge medicine and
advocacy to more than 817,000 people in 38 countries. It is also the
largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States.

HIV/AIDS in Fort Worth and North Texas

  • As of 2016, 5,842 individuals were living with HIV in Tarrant and the
    surrounding seven counties.
  • In 2016, the Fort Worth HSDA had the fourth highest number of new
    diagnoses in Texas with 310 new cases identified that year.
  • Only 73% of total PLWH (People Living With HIV) retained in medical
    care in 2016 compared to approximately 90% of AOC clients.
  • In 2016, over 70% of new diagnoses by AOC were MSM (Men who have Sex
    with Men) of color age 29 or under.

"AHF recognizes the importance of supporting patients and clients with
local grassroots community-based services that are crucial to ensuring
better health care outcomes,” said Michael Weinstein, President
of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Nowhere is this more evident than in the
North Texas area which AOC serves—eight counties that include both urban
and rural populations as well as poor, minority as well as some
disenfranchised populations. With this formal affiliation with AIDS
Outreach Center and under Shannon Hilgart’s ongoing leadership, we hope
to better serve those in need in the region and use this partnership as
a model in other regions.”

About AOC

In 1986, AIDS Outreach Center (AOC) began as a grassroots organization
responding to the devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since that time,
AOC has been a leader in North Texas in the fight against HIV. The
mission of AOC is to serve people living with or at risk for HIV with
dignity and respect. AOC’s vision: In our community, people living with
HIV receive quality care, and new infections are rare.

Annually, 40 staff members and more than 200 volunteers provide services
to over 1,600 people living HIV/AIDS with and education to over 3,000
people in eight North Texas counties. As part of a comprehensive
approach to treatment, education and prevention, AOC administers
programs serving people living with HIV and those at risk for HIV. This
includes, but is not limited to, housing and insurance assistance, case
management, mental health and substance abuse services, a dental clinic,
a food bank, transportation services and support groups. AOC’s community
health services include free HIV and syphilis testing and low-cost
testing for other STIs, individual risk reduction counseling, and
linkage to care services.

About AHF

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 817,000 individuals in 38 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


Contacts

AIDS Outreach Center
Shannon Hilgart, 817-916-5206
Executive
Director
shannonh@aoc.org
or
AIDS
Healthcare Foundation
Bret Camp
Texas Regional Director
Office:
972-383-1065
Other: 469-534-0393
Bret.camp@aidshealth.org
or
Ged
Kenslea,
Senior Director, Communications,
Office: 323-308-1833
Mobile:
323-791-5526
gedk@aidshealth.org