In 1984, Ohio and the nation were dealing with a new “cancer” that was causing people to become extremely sick and even die. Under the belief that this “cancer” was affecting only the gay community, the disease was originally called Gay-Related Immune Disease or “GRID”, and then later Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). In response to seeing those they cared about becoming sick and dying, concerned citizens began gathering in living rooms and at kitchen tables to mobilize the community around this disease. These grassroots calls to actions would be repeated many times in communities across Ohio. As a result, the Dayton Area AIDS Task Force, AIDS Foundation Dayton, No One’s Victory Alone, David’s House Compassion and a handful of other AIDS service organizations in our region were born. And over the course of 25 years, these groups joined efforts in order to better meet the collective needs of their communities and eventually formed AIDS Resource Center Ohio (ARC Ohio). Now providing services in all or part of 40 Ohio counties and with offices in Dayton, Toledo, Lima and Mansfield, ARC Ohio is geographically the largest AIDS Services organization in Ohio today.
A Mission of Caring, Empowerment and Hope
The mission of ARC Ohio is to be the client-focused, community-based provider of specialized HIV prevention, testing, advocacy and support services. To this end, in 2009:
- Over 2,300 HIV-infected individuals and their loved ones were provided core medical services, client-centered case management, housing, emergency financial aid and other support services.
- Over 750 individuals at highest risk for HIV infection or already infected but who do not yet know it, received free HIV testing, risk reduction counseling and referral for needed services for this still deadly disease.
- 14,000 individuals received critical and life saving HIV information, outreach and prevention services in hopes of reducing HIV transmission rates and preventing further infection.
Current Statistics: The Work is Far From Over
- Half of all new infections are among young people ages 24 and younger.
- One-fourth of all persons living with HIV in the U.S. are unaware of their status. Unknowingly, these individuals account for more than half of all HIV transmission/new infections.
- Every 9 ½ minutes, someone is infected with HIV in this country.
- 38% of people are diagnosed AIDS within one year of their first HIV-positive test.
- Gay and bisexual men of all races are the most severely affected by HIV. Male-to-male sexual contact account for 53% of new HIV infections. An additional 4% are within Injection Drug Using MSM.
- The estimated cost of medication and medical care for the 2,713 reported persons known to be HIV-infected in our 35-county region will cost our community over $69 million a year. If these known/reported HIV-infected people live with the disease for an average of 22.5 years, this will be a cumulative cost to the community of as much as $1.5 billion.