Chicago: South Side Help Center & AHF Celebrate New Affiliation

In News by AHF

South Side Help Center and AHF will host an affiliation celebration on April 30th at the DuSable Museum of African-American History to introduce Chicago to its new partnership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the city.

CHICAGO (April 23, 2015) In early February, South Side Help Center (SSHC) announced that it would be affiliating and partnering with global public health organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in order to expand the respected Chicago nonprofit’s capacity to provide lifesaving services to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS in the South Side of Chicago and elsewhere in the city. At the same time, AHF announced that it had recently opened its first AHF Healthcare Center in Illinois—on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The two organizations will formally introduce this new partnership to the Chicago community via an Affiliation Celebration and Launch Party on Thursday, April 30th at the DuSable Museum of African-American History.


South Side Help Center/AHF Affiliation Celebration



Thursday, April 30th   6 pm – 9 pm



DuSable Museum of African-American History

740 E 56th Place (in Washington Park at the corner of 57th & Cottage Grove)

Chicago, IL   60637



Featured speakers:

Vanessa Smith, Executive Director, South Side Help Center

Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Tracy Jones, Executive Director, AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland  

Local Chicago & Illinois officials TBD


Media Note:

Soul and Jazz Singer Terisa Griffin will perform live along with a jazz quartet



Vanessa Smith, SSHC +1.773.701.4223 [email protected]

Creola Hampton, SSHC +1.773.881.9588 or +1.773.875.4351 (M) [email protected]

Ged Kenslea, AHF +1.323.308.1833 or +1.323.791.5526 (M) [email protected]


The South Side Help Center/AHF Affiliation Celebration, which the groups are hosting together at the DuSable Museum of African-American History (740 E 56th Pl. in Chicago), will take place from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Leaders from both groups will address attendees at the event to illuminate the benefits to both organizations and to the Chicago community that will be fostered through the unification. Speakers will include the heads of both organizations – SSHC Executive Director Vanessa Smith and AHF President Michael Weinstein – as well as Tracy Jones, Executive Director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland (another AHF affiliate organization) and AHF Midwest Regional Director.  McKenzie Smith, SSHC Board of Directors member/chair and Cynthia Davis, chair of AHF Board of Directors will also speak.

“SSHC and AHF are jointly committed to addressing the needs of the underserved and marginalized and, particularly, the African-American and other communities of color living in Chicago,” says SSHC Executive Director Vanessa Smith.. “These communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by rising rates of infection while having access to fewer resources needed to staunch the epidemic.  I am honored to now work together with AHF in this exciting new collaboration.”

AIDS Healthcare President Michael Weinstein added, “Because of AHF’s unique position as an advocacy organization and the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States, we— together with SSHC and other affiliates and partners—are in a prime position to develop something revolutionary to stop the spread of HIV, particularly amongst the African-American community.”

About South Side Help Center and AIDS Healthcare Foundation

For nearly 30 years, South Side Help Center has provided critical services for HIV-positive individuals.  Initially founded in 1987 with the goal of educating the African-American religious community so it could be sensitive to the needs of people dying from HIV/AIDS, SSHC’s services have evolved beyond HIV prevention to include direct care services and a comprehensive range of Youth and Capacity Building programs that serve minorities at greatest risk across in the area.  AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a global organization that provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to more than 415,000 people in 36 countries. AHF is also the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States, currently providing services in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

HIV/AIDS in the African American Community and in Chicago

Although African-Americans make up only 12% of the population, they account for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents ages 13 years or older.   According to the CDC’s last census in 2010:  36% of an estimated 29,800 new HIV infections were among African-American gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and African-American women accounted for 6,100 (29%) of the estimated new HIV infections among all adult and adolescents, with most new HIV infections among African-American women (87% or 5,300) being attributed to heterosexual contact.

Chicago’s South Side—where the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is one of the highest in Chicago (Healthy Chicago STI/HIV Surveillance Report, Fall 2011, Fig. 2., P #8) – has been particularly hard hit. The affiliation between the two organizations, each of which serves HIV-positive clients with a wide variety of free services, allows both organizations to better tailor and expand their capacity to provide critical and much-needed services to those affected by HIV/AIDS in the community.

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