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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 12, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 41
AHF hits new milestone: One million lives in care!
Section One
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AHF hits new milestone: One million lives in care!

LOS ANGELES (October 4, 2018) - The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017 and now operates in 41 countries, is honored to announce that it has surpassed a remarkable milestone in its history: as of the start of this month, the AHF is now providing HIV/AIDS medical care and/or services to more than one million patients - 1,004,228 patients worldwide as of last week - in the US, Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia. And the AHF's Africa Bureau, one of the AHF's five global bureaus, leads the way, with over 500,000 HIV/AIDS patients in care in the 13 African nations that the AHF serves.

'Over one million lives in the AHF's care [is] the most momentous achievement in the 31-year history of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and an achievement proudly shared by many, many dedicated staff, board members, partner organizations, volunteers, family, friends, and patients,' said Michael Weinstein, the AHF's president. 'Just three short years ago, we marked 500,000 patients in care. To now reach over twice that number, one million lives, is simply incredible. I congratulate and thank all who helped us reach this remarkable milestone today but remind people there is still much more work to be done. As we carry on, I am confident that the leadership of the AHF's domestic and global programs has the capability and the will to take us onward and upward, to bring more and more people into the lifeboat of care and treatment over the next five years.'

'502,452! - the AHF Africa Bureau crossed the half-a-million patient mark in late September, two years early - in our goal as part of the '20x20' campaign, and I could not feel prouder of each and every one who has helped us reach this milestone and, far more significantly, helped save so many thousands and thousands of lives,' said Penninah Iutung Amor, MD, Africa Bureau Chief for the AHF, on the continent where more than half of AHF patients are located. 'As experts in the delivery of HIV/AIDS medical care and an influential advocate, we celebrate this achievement today and also vow to continue to be at the forefront of efforts to control AIDS globally.'

In November 2013, the AHF kicked off '20x20,' a collective global advocacy campaign to try to get 20 million people living with HIV or AIDS worldwide in care and on treatment by the year 2020. At the time, the AHF made a commitment to getting one million of those 20 million on treatment by 2020 - a historic benchmark passed this month - and a commitment achieved two years earlier than 2020.

Previous AHF Treatment Benchmarks
o 500,000 lives in care under the AHF, a mark celebrated on November 13, 2015

o 250,000 lives in care, a mark celebrated on November 27, 2013

o 100,000 lives in care, a mark celebrated on April 15, 2009

The AHF celebrated the earlier milestone of 250,000 patients in care in November 2013. In the two short intervening years until the announcement of 500,000 patients in November 2015, the AHF doubled the number of patients it reached. Prior to that, the AHF marked 100,000 patients in care worldwide on April 8, 2009, a time when the AHF operated in just 21 countries and with only 65 global treatment clinics total worldwide. Today, the AHF provides medical care and services in over 545 global treatment clinics in 40 other countries outside the US.

'Truly heartfelt congratulations to all of the AHF staff, board members, volunteers, partners, and our patients for contributing your best to help the AHF meet this incredible milestone,' said Cynthia Davis, MPH, Assistant Professor and Program Director, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and Chair of the AHF's Board of Directors. 'On behalf of the AHF Board of Directors, we thank you and will celebrate this achievement with you as we lead in to the observation of World AIDS Day - this year marking its 30th year - later this year.'

'The one million lives under AHF's care actually translates to many millions and many generations, if we consider the impact on the families who would have otherwise lost earning, productive individuals, parents losing children or children becoming orphans,' said Dr. V. Sam Prasad, Country Program Director for AHF India Cares. 'This milestone also marks the epitome of championing humanity and guarantees life and dignity to those in need regardless of their ability to pay. However, India still has a long way to go in bridging the gap between the 'estimated' and the 'ever-reached' to end AIDS by 2030. With a rekindled spirit and a rejuvenated mind, I vow that AHF India Cares will continue to Innovate Interventions to Impact and Complement India's National response, doing our best and our part until the war on HIV is won.'

AHF to roll out '1,000,000 Lives in Care' billboard campaign in the US and to some global sites
To mark its one-million-patient milestone, the AHF will roll out a celebratory new '1,000,000 Lives in Care' billboard campaign later this month starting in Los Angeles and later in South Florida. The campaign will also be shared with some global countries and sites. The inspiring artwork, created by Jason Farmer, senior director of AHF Worldwide, features an image of white numbers making up '1,000,000' on a backdrop of a crowd of thousands and thousands of people giving the billboard an artistic pointillist effect - one that underscores and heightens the concept of one million lives now under the AHF's care.

In addition, the AHF produced a short video commemorating the one-million-patient milestone. To view, click here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7k26nkdn02r4tgp/AHF_1_Million_Lives_In_Care_1080p.mp4?dl=0

AHF's early history
The AHF began operations in 1987 as the AIDS Hospice Foundation by a group of activists in response to the urgent need to provide hospice services to patients dying of AIDS on the streets of Los Angeles. By July 1990, the organization had changed its name to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, as the need for ongoing medical care for HIV/AIDS patients grew. When the advent of lifesaving antiretroviral medications ushered in a treatment revolution in 1996, the AHF began supplying these medications to patients for free without guarantee of reimbursement and at great financial risk. In 2002, at the invitation of local South African activists, the AHF opened its first free HIV/AIDS clinic outside the US in this hard-hit country. In 2004, the AHF declared its pledge to reach 100,000 people worldwide with its services, and by 2009, the AHF reached that major milestone.

Today, in addition to its clinics and treatment centers, the AHF also operates a chain of 48 AHF pharmacy outlets in 12 states and runs managed care and disease management programs for people with AIDS or HIV in Florida and California under the AHF's Positive Healthcare umbrella. Through the AHF's Public Health Division, the AHF operates one of the largest community-based free HIV testing programs in the US (186,223 free tests in the US in 2017). In addition, over four million free HIV tests were done globally by the AHF in 2017 (4,233,744 tests). The AHF also operates 21 wellness centers in nine states (and seven additional wellness centers in four other countries) and also operates two AHF dental clinics in South Florida and Southern California. The AHF Research Division has 23 years of experience with antiretroviral (ARV) studies.

AHF countries:
o THE AMERICAS - 11 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru (as well as the United States).

o AFRICA - 13 countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland), Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

o ASIA - 9 countries: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

o EUROPE - 8 countries: Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

In addition, the AHF operates 63 free HIV/AIDS healthcare centers in 15 states (California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington [state]) and the District of Columbia and the US territory of Puerto Rico.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1,004,228 individuals in 41 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region, and Eastern Europe. To learn more about the AHF, please visit www.aidshealth.org or www.facebook.com/aidshealth, and follow us on Twitter @aidshealthcare.

Courtesy of the AHF

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