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May 4, 2007

Spring is in the air and that means AIDS Walk NY is just around the corner.

In a much-anticipated annual tradition, our team (ASC #0008) will join thousands of New Yorkers in a 6-mile urban trek to help raise funds and awareness in the fight against AIDS. With more than 70 ASC team members already signed up, our goal is to raise $10,000 this year. As an AIDS Walk NY Community Partner, all monies we raise will directly benefit ASC.

We'd love to have you walk with ASC or sponsor one of our walkers. To join our team or make a donation, just visit our ASC AIDS Walk NY team site page.

AIDS Walk begins and ends in Central Park. ASC walkers should meet at our Team Table between 8:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Enter the park at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue and look for ASC! We'll be there with breakfast and T-shirts for all ASC Team walkers.

Please join us! Be sure to arrive early to sign in at the general registration area and drop off your pledges. (If you are not pre-registered but have raised pledges, don't forget to write ASC Team #0008 on all your checks.)

If you have questions, please contact ASC's Development & Evaluation Coordinator, Jennifer Samuels, at 212-645-0875 x 360 or at jennifer@ascnyc.org.

May 4, 2007

With 11 workshops designed to help clients navigate the complex, constantly changing world of HIV treatment and adherence, ASC hosted its seventh annual Treatment Education Week in April.

Among this year's presentations, designed specifically for our clients: "Building a Relationship with Your Medical Provider," "Making the Right Treatment Choices For Yourself," "12 Steps to Treatment Adherence," "Understanding Lab Reports," and "Managing Treatment for HIV and Hepatitis C."

A special panel discussion on "Treatment Diaries" featured ASC Peer Educators and clients who recounted their own treatment-related decisions, experiences with medications, and efforts toward adherence.

"Every year brings new HIV treatment options and new challenges to staying on track with these medications," explains ASC Co-director of Prevention Services Ramona Cummings. "The goal of Treatment Education Week is to arm clients with information so they can assess their treatment options, make informed choices, and adhere to their HIV treatments over time."

ASC's Treatment Education Week received support from Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead Sciences, Tibotech, Mom's Pharmacy, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Echo Pharmacy.

Individualized treatment education counseling, weekly support groups, and computer literacy classes are part of ASC's ongoing treatment adherence services.

May 4, 2007

ASC Assistant Director David Berman strikes a pose with TNYA Administrator Lisa Batey during this "splashing success" of a fundraiser!

A $20,000 gift to ASC is the result of this year's One Hour Swim, an annual benefit hosted by Red Tide and Team New York Aquatics, two prominent New York City swim teams. This marks the third year these generous groups have designated ASC as beneficiary of the One Hour Swim. Their donation will support a range of ASC services.

This year, 120 swimmers from 10 teams collectively swam the equivalent of 218 miles. Having gathered pledges from friends and family members, each participant swam nonstop for an hour to see how far they could go while supporting a good cause!

ASC cheered swimmers on and provided healthy refreshments during the event. To help rejuvenate swimmers, we also offered them the services of two professional masseuses. As always, we extend deepest thanks to the One Hour Swim organizers, swimmers, and donors.

"Our relationship with Red Tide and Team New York Aquatics means so much to us," says David Berman, ASC's Assistant Director for Planning and Evaluation. "The unrestricted donation from One Hour Swim allows us to put money where it's most needed, which is especially critical in an era of government cutbacks. Every dollar ASC receives through this event is going to help somebody in need."

May 4, 2007

S.O.S. Peer Educators (L-R) John Pinkney, Denise Lomax, James Norris, and Damon Reardon.

With an exciting new partnership, ASC is keeping the faith. We've recently embarked on a joint venture to bring HIV prevention education to local communities of faith.

Spiritual Outreach Services (S.O.S.) is a collaboration between ASC and the United Church of Christ HIV/AIDS Network (UCAN). S.O.S. provides peer-delivered outreach, HIV prevention education, and HIV counseling, testing and referral services to houses of worship in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The program focuses on communities that have been hit hard by HIV/AIDS.

"We're thrilled about this new collaboration," says ASC's Executive Director/CEO Sharen Duke. "By partnering with faith-based organizations, we can deliver services in communities that are being literally decimated by this epidemic. For years, ASC has 'exported' our services to where they are needed most—drug treatment centers, homeless shelters, and public housing projects, to name just a few. S.O.S. takes this approach even further by providing life-saving services in a faith-based context. Instead of making people come to us for HIV testing, prevention information, and access to care, we're bringing these vital services to them."

S.O.S. focuses on houses of worship in East Harlem, Central Harlem and East New York—economically disenfranchised communities with alarming rates of HIV infection. The program helps parents talk to their children about HIV prevention and designs tailored programs to meet each site's specific needs.

The program also aims to increase the number of people who know their HIV status—and improve their access to medical and mental health care, substance abuse services, housing placement assistance, and other key services.

"In the early 1980s, when we first started talking about HIV and AIDS, it was the world's faith-based institutions, collectively, that primarily made this a disease about stigma, fear, and shame," says ASC Board Member Oliver Martin III, who Chairs the Global HIV/AIDS Ministry at Riverside Church and is closely involved with S.O.S. "I honestly believe it's going to take all people of faith, collectively, to change that perception. The S.O.S. program is a step in the right direction."

May 4, 2007

Music. Performance. Politics. Fashion. Illusion. Drama. The stunning Kevin Aviance embodies it all—and he'll be sharing it with us at Safer Sex In The City 2007.

We're bringing sexy back! ASC's third annual Safer Sex In The City fundraiser promoting safer sex in the age of AIDS is coming in June. This year's lineup of sponsors and supporters is more exciting than ever, including The Onion, The New York Blade, Poz, Kenneth Cole, Brown-Forman, Cline Davis & Mann, Select Health, Impact Technology Solutions, Red Tide, Team New York Aquatics, Project Publicity PR, the New York Chapter of Cable Positive, XM Radio and Manhunt.net.

Along with special guest Kevin Aviance, there'll be great music by hot DJs Vic Latino and Jackie Christie, an open bar, safer sex "demonstration" tables, a silent auction, and free admission to "Kink," the sizzling new exhibition at the Museum of Sex.

It's also a thrill to welcome our newest Host Committee member. Carol Leifer is an internationally acclaimed comic, comedy writer, and producer whose credits include "Seinfeld" and "The Larry Sanders Show." With supporters like these, this year's party will be hotter than ever!

Don't miss Safer Sex In The City. To purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or learn more, call (212) 645-0875 ext. 303, or visit www.safersexinthecity.org.

May 4, 2007

An ASC PREP graduate shares his story during last year's graduation ceremony.

You won't want to miss the upcoming graduation ceremony for ASC's current Peer Recovery Education Program (PREP) cycle. This moving and inspiring event caps ASC's intensive PREP training program, which helps men and women affected by HIV/AIDS and in recovery from drug or alcohol use to reach their full potential.

You'll hear powerful testimonials from the graduates and a keynote address by a past PREP graduate. You'll also hear from ASC's executive staff and board, meet our amazing graduates, and enjoy refreshments. For more information, contact ASC's Planning Department at 212-645-0875 x 303, or email jack@ascnyc.org.

May 4, 2007

I joined ASC's Board of Directors in 1996. I give my time to ASC because it provides customized HIV prevention and care services that really embody the agency's slogan of "helping many, one by one."

My philosophy is that HIV prevention can only work if it is tailored to each person's needs. ASC helps people avoid acquiring HIV in the first place; works with them to help them reduce the risk of getting re-infected with HIV; and helps them curb transmission of HIV by working with every client as an individual.

I know first-hand that cookie-cutter HIV prevention doesn't work. You get more buy-in from people when they see themselves reflected in the prevention effort, as opposed to generalizations about this or that group of people.

Initially, I was invited to join ASC's Board of Directors because of my history with community-based HIV prevention work, and because I am HIV-positive and willing to say as much. I serve on the board's Program Committee.

Every potential program at ASC undergoes a board-level assessment in which we ask, How will this program affect our clients? How will it be utilized? What needs to be considered from the client perspective and the managerial perspective? How might this program benefit our clients' medical circumstances? The committee then evaluates pros and cons of adding the program to ASC's service array.

We recently took ASC's new Spiritual Outreach Services (S.O.S.) program through this process. In my capacity as co-chair of the Global HIV/AIDS Ministry at Riverside Church, I knew our ministry—which reaches many people in need of HIV/AIDS services—lacked the capacity to run a full-service HIV/AIDS prevention program in-house.

We needed a partner that did have such resources—a partner with a truly open-door policy, like ASC. After discussions between Riverside Church and ASC, we created a formal service agreement where ASC would bring its HIV prevention resources to our community. Though ASC is not a religious entity, its outreach includes people who do HIV prevention through communities of faith, whether the venue is a church, mosque, synagogue, or other setting.

ASC is the perfect partner, because at Riverside Church, we needed to find a group that shared our commitment to 100% inclusiveness, without exception and without reservation. Many groups say they're inclusive until, for example, a transgender person turns up on their doorstep. But ASC is genuinely inclusive, and that fits with our values.

Since December, S.O.S. has provided HIV prevention services in a Chinese Buddhist Center, a mosque, and several churches. More than a thousand people in East and Central Harlem have been reached, and we're just getting started. Increasingly, communities of faith are coming to the table to address this epidemic. The time is right for HIV prevention collaborations between groups like ASC and the faith-based community. My hope for S.O.S. is that one day, it will put everybody in the AIDS field out of work and close the HIV/AIDS industry down.

May 4, 2007

Give your clothes a new lease on life by donating to ASC's Wonderful Wearables Clothing Room today.

Attention, clotheshorses! Are your closets overflowing? Through ASC's Wonderful Wearables Clothing Room, your gently used clothes can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Our Clothing Room currently has a shortage of men's clothing. We need donations of new or gently used menswear in all sizes: slacks, jeans, shorts, T-shirts, dress shirts, casual wear, jackets, coats, hats, sweaters, dress shoes, and sneakers. We are always in need of tote bags, purses, backpacks, and shoulder bags as well.

Wonderful Wearables provides our clients with warm clothing, comfortable daily wear, business attire, shoes, and other necessities many of us take for granted.

As David Lopez, ASC's Program Manager for Prevention Services observes, "When someone finds the right piece of clothing in ASC's Clothing Room, you can see the transformation right away. They feel more confident and their self-esteem gets a boost. The right clothes also help our clients present themselves appropriately at interviews for housing services, job interviews, and medical appointments. Clients come back to us all the time and say, 'I did really well at my interview and I'm so glad I was able to dress appropriately for it.'"

Can you help? To donate and arrange a drop-off, please contact Jack Trinco at jack@ascnyc.org or at 212-645-0875 x 303.

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