ARE’s journey began over 25 years ago when a handful of concerned members of our community came together with the compassionate foresight to begin addressing the needs of the AIDS crisis in the Winchester community in the late 1980′s. Their initial effort was in establishing a support group and “buddy” system for those living with HIV/AIDS. A strong belief in quality HIV/AIDS client services and education has made ARE the sole provider of HIV/AIDS services in the Lord Fairfax Health District 7 (LFHD7) service area (Winchester City, Frederick, Warren, Clarke, Shenandoah and parts of Page counties).
ARE was incorporated in Richmond, VA on May 24, 1991. In 1998, ARE and Valley Health Services created a pilot project to establish a Medical Management Clinic (MMC) for HIV/AIDS clients. These clients were able to have comprehensive case management and medical care, nutritional counseling, substance abuse and mental health care in a single appointment, in a comfortable medical setting. This pilot project ended in September 2000 because of the changing health care needs of the clients. Many became healthier, returned to work or obtained Medicaid/Medicare services.
As the epidemic has changed from one of crisis to a chronic manageable disease, the needs of ARE clients have also changed. ARE now has clients that have a variety of needs, ranging from access to primary medical or dental care, case management, to needs for housing, utility assistance, emergency food, transportation and drug access assistance. ARE has been successful in providing access or referral to medical and specialty care for its client base.
It has been over 30 years since a clinical description of AIDS, one of history’s worst pandemics, was created…effectively defining the disease. While we all look forward to the day that HIV and AIDS is only a memory, ARE continues our service of advocating and educating our community about HIV/AIDS as we have been for more than 20 years.
Here’s a list of current services being offered at ARE:
*Medical Case Management (within that umbrella there is financial assistance for medical care, labs, medication, mental health services, support groups, dental care, nutritional therapy, food banks, transportation assistance, linguistic services, vision care, and referrals to other support services in the community.
*Housing Services (which can include first month’s rent, supportive housing placement, utility assistance, deposits, partial or full rent/mortgage payments, hotel vouchers, budget counseling, case management)
* Early Intervention Services
*Free HIV & Hepatitis C Testing
*Jail Discharge Case Management
*Outreach/Education (risk reduction counseling, HIV 101, CLEAR, awareness events, condom demonstrations, etc.)
*Consumer Advisory Board
*PrEP Navigation and PrEP medication access assistance