In an announcement Thursday, the AIDS Resource Center, a Wisconsin health care system designed specifically for patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, said the merger will allow the organization to bring its community-based primary care model to St. Louis.
While the merged organization will be headquartered in Milwaukee, Effort for AIDS will continue to operate in St. Louis under its same name. Michael Gifford, president and CEO of the AIDS Resource Center, will continue in his role. The 40 employees of Saint Louis Effort for AIDS will join ARCW’s 250 employees.
The organizations have received a $1.7 million grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to help with the merger and the development and operation of a new HIV medical clinic in St. Louis. The clinic, which is expected to open in January 2019, will be ARCW’s 12th location.
“EFA has a long-standing history in St. Louis of providing strong HIV prevention programs and services for people living with HIV,” Gifford said. “We are excited to join forces with them to expand services to the people of St. Louis.”
EFA said it has seen an increase in the demand for its programs in St. Louis, where 6,145 live with HIV.
“This merger will allow us to offer a new model of care to people living with HIV in St. Louis while also helping us better prevent new HIV infections, reduce AIDS-related deaths, stigma and other barriers to testing, care and treatment,” said Tawnya Brown, the new vice president of operations for the AIDS Resource Center who has 20 years of experience in HIV health care.
The ARCW Medical Center has locations in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Kenosha, where it provides more than 1,600 HIV patients with medical, dental, mental health and pharmacy care. It also provides access to food pantries, housing, legal services and social work case management.
In 2017, ARCW merged with Denver-based HIV/AIDS advocacy nonprofit Rocky Mountain Cares. In 2015, the organization merged with the Madison-based AIDS Network.