After Austin Mayor Douglas Campbell requested assistance in city hit by recent HIV outbreak, AIDS group to work with Dr. William Cooke, Austin’s only doctor in new clinic and ongoing prevention efforts
AUSTIN, Ind. (May 7, 2015) On the heels of a recent and significant outbreak of HIV found among citizens of Austin, Indiana, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Austin Mayor Douglas Campbell, Indiana State Representative Terry Goodin and Dr. William Cooke, the City of Austin, Indiana’s only physician, are today pleased to announce a new partnership between AHF and local and state health and government officials, in Indiana to address the escalating public health crisis. Since December 2014, more than 140 individuals in the small, working class city of 4,200 in southern Indiana have been diagnosed with HIV, many as a result of intravenous drug use and the sharing of contaminated needles.
The new partnership will include AHF’s establishment of a new free HIV/AIDS treatment clinic in Austin working in conjunction with Dr. Cooke. AHF, which deployed one of its mobile HIV testing units to Austin several weeks ago, will also open an AHF Pharmacy as well as continue providing free HIV testing, outreach and other related services in the city.
WHAT: MEDIA AVAILABILITY: AHF to open New HIV treatment in Austin, Ind.
WHEN: THURSDAY, May. 7th 2015— ALL DAY
- Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director, AHF’s Public Health Division
- Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President
- Garith Fulham, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy in Indiana & Ohio for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who has been working on the ground for the past several weeks in Austin, Indiana
- Others TBD
CONTACT: Garith Fulham, Director, Indiana & Ohio Public Policy & Advocacy for AHF +1.401.837.0412 [cell] Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Director +1.323.791.5526 [cell] +1.323.308.1833 [office]
Three weeks ago, one of AHF’s mobile testing vans arrived in Austin and began offering free HIV testing. AHF first offered its support after learning of the scope of the outbreak in the city and has been working closely with officials in Indiana on the mobile HIV program as well as developing plans to provide other needed HIV/AIDS services as they may arise.
“We offered our help to the State of Indiana, Scott County and the City of Austin in order to assist any individual who may be directly affected by this cluster of new HIV infections,” said Garith Fulham, Public Policy & Advocacy Director for AHF in neighboring Ohio, who has been working in Indiana on this issue for the past several weeks. “We are pleased to be up and running in Austin, providing free HIV testing and related services on our mobile testing van in order to best address this Indiana outbreak.”
“AHF is ready and willing to provide whatever assistance we may in this public health crisis and will continue to work closely with Indiana officials including Mayor Campbell, Representative Goodin and Dr. Cooke in order to identify and link HIV-positive individuals into medical care and treatment,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We are also honored to now bring our years of experience in HIV/AIDS care in this new HIV treatment clinic and partnership in Austin.”
After consultation last month between Austin officials and AHF, Austin Mayor Douglas Campbell reached out to AHF President Michael Weinstein. In a letter dated April 14, 2015, Mayor Campbell wrote:
“I want to explore opportunities that your group may offer to help our citizens who have been stricken with sickness … Mr. Weinstein, I have researched AHF’s experience and realize that much needed help the organization brings to those in need.”
AHF currently operates the largest community-based HIV testing program in the nation and last year performed 155,842 free HIV tests here in the US. Worldwide, AHF performed 2,968,179 free HIV tests in 2014 in the 36 countries in which it operates.