Ohio, Here We Come! AHF to Open “Out of the Closet Thrift Store,” Pharmacy & HIV Testing Site in Columbus

By
12/22/2011
Source: AIDS Healthcare Foundation
COLUMBUS, OHIO

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, has purchased a plot of land in the hip, Short North district of Columbus, (1230 N. High St., on the corner of N. High and 5th Ave.) and will soon begin construction on a facility to house an Out of the Closet Thrift Store, AHF Pharmacy and HIV testing site. The facility will also serve as a hub for the organization’s advocacy in the region. In addition, the group will soon open an AHF Healthcare Center in Columbus, offering high-quality HIV/AIDS medical care, regardless of ability to pay.

The announcement comes on the heels of an advocacy victory last month for HIV/AIDS patients in Ohio in which a judge granted a preliminary injunction preventing the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) from enforcing proposed changes to the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) regulations. The lawsuit was brought by three Ohio HIV/AIDS advocates and was supported by the Foundation.

“Ohio, here we come! I am extremely proud of this milestone: AHF’s first Out of the Closet Thrift Store, pharmacy and HIV testing site in the mid-west,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We are excited to be following up on our recent advocacy successes in Ohio by providing our high-quality HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and outreach services to the people of Columbus.”

With twenty-two other locations in California and Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s popular and award winning Out of the Closet Thrift Store chain is the nation’s largest retail fundraising vehicle for HIV/AIDS medical care. This site will also be home to the newest AHF Pharmacy, a full-service facility staffed with pharmacists who specialize in HIV/AIDS medications (as well as general pharmacy services), providing clients with access to the additional specialists, medications and services they need to be as healthy as possible.

“Community members will soon be able to support AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s advocacy and outreach work in Ohio by donating merchandise, using the in-store pharmacy, shopping or simply donating funds,” said Adam Ouderkirk, Regional Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation who has been working on the Ohio project. “Ninety-six cents of every dollar raised through the Columbus Out of the Closet Thrift Store and Pharmacy will benefit AHF’s outreach, testing and advocacy services in Ohio.”

The new Short North AIDS thrift store and state-of-the-art pharmacy will benefit HIV/AIDS patients statewide. The facility—the 22nd in AHF’s award-winning chain—also enjoys the distinction of being only the second Out of the Closet store that AHF built from ground up. The first is in Ft. Lauderdale – upon which this newest site will be modeled.

In addition to the thrift store, pharmacy and testing center, an AHF Healthcare Center will soon open in Columbus. Currently, there are nineteen AHF Healthcare Centers in California, Florida and Washington D.C. that provide advanced medical care designed specifically for HIV-positive clients. AHF’s healthcare providers are knowledgeable of up-to-the-minute developments in HIV medical care. In addition, AHF Healthcare Centers are often part of the research teams testing new medications to fight HIV. The Foundation will soon continue its nationwide expansion with new AHF Healthcare Centers in Ft. Worth, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia and Brooklyn, New York.

“AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s worldwide knowledge and expertise will make a significant contribution to Columbus’ dedication in fighting this disease,” said Eddie Hamilton of ADAP Educational Initiative and a local HIV/AIDS advocate. “AHF coming to Columbus marks a new day of choice for Columbus’ HIV-positive community that will empower patients and the community at large in health care access and advocacy.”

AHF has been working closely with local partners ADAP Educational Initiative, North Church and the North Church AIDS Awareness Ministry and will continue to work with these agencies to provide the highest-quality healthcare, advocacy and outreach services to the community.

“As a church we are compelled to reach out into our community and help those who are affected by HIV/AIDS, said Dave Baker, Founder & Director, North Church’s AIDS Awareness Ministry and a local HIV/AIDS advocate. “Our approach is a holistic one and we are excited to be in collaboration with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation as they come to the great city of Columbus. We feel that working together we can provide help, hope, and a bright future to those in our community through education, testing, medical treatment, and advocacy.”

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AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 124,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org

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