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May 8, 2008

ASC is engaged in a groundbreaking partnership with Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center to provide HIV patients at high risk of dropping out of care with intensive case management services that improves connection to the medical services on which their lives depend.

This exciting collaboration is designed to reengage people whose HIV has gone untreated due to co-occurring problems such as substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, and poverty. Under this initiative, a three-person ASC Case Management Team provides dedicated services to eligible HIV patients hospitalized at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, ushering them through the process of leaving the hospital and making the often daunting transition to out-patient medical care.

"Clinical providers and case managers are in close contact," says Dr. Susan Olender, Instructor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia's Division of Infectious Diseases. "By improving the communication, we find that coordination, oversight, and follow-up improve. This differs from the usual scenario, where services can be fragmented and communication isn't always as good as it could be."

One key benefit of this collaboration, according to Dr. Karen Brudney, Director of the Columbia University Infectious Diseases Clinic is that it helps people stay on track with their medications. "The difference between taking those meds and not taking them is clear: if you take your meds, you get better—and if you don't, you die."

Deborah's story illuminates the benefits of this unique program model. "After I was diagnosed with HIV, I was in the hospital for two months," explains Deborah W. "ASC visited me there and told me how they'd help me when I got discharged. Since then, they've helped me set up medical appointments, keep up with my meds, and explore avenues for finding a permanent place to live. ASC's case management team is concerned, knowledgeable, and follows up on everything that needs to be done."

"Community-based services can and do improve the health outcomes of people living with HIV/AIDS," says ASC Executive Director Sharen Duke. "Our partnership with Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center is powerful testament to the impact of medical care by HIV specialists supported by the work we do in the community, on the streets, and in clients' homes to help keep individuals in care."

For Deborah, the outcome is clear. "When it comes to the people I'm dealing with at Columbia Presbyterian and ASC, I know I have the best of the best."

May 8, 2008

TNYA Head Coach Conrad Johnson with One Hour Swim organizer Lisa Batey during this "splashing success" of a fundraiser!

This year's One Hour Swim, an annual fundraiser hosted by Red Tide and Team New York Aquatics (TNYA), donated over $20,000 to support ASC's basic needs programs for people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS.

More than 135 swimmers from 15 teams collectively swam the equivalent of 303 miles. "Red Tide and Team New York Aquatics have been wonderful friends to ASC," says Executive Director Sharen Duke. "We're deeply grateful to both teams for recognizing the value of the services we provide, and actively supporting our work."

In addition to annual financial contributions, both Red Tide and TNYA have organized clothing drives for people living with HIV/AIDS, volunteered at agency events, and donated gifts for adults and families at our client holiday celebrations. On May 19, ASC is hosting a special reception to officially rename our Clothing Room in honor of Team New York Aquatics.

"We've been amazed by the range of ASC services, and the level of intelligence and dignity with which ASC treats its clients," says David Lucas, a Social Director and Board Member of TNYA. "Over and over again, we see how well the people who come to ASC are treated. Our relationship with ASC is something we at One Hour Swim are very proud of."

May 8, 2008

ASC's fourth annual Safer Sex In The City fundraiser at Duvet—one of Manhattan's hottest nightclubs—will be a night to remember. Project Runway's Jack Mackenroth and Kevin Christiana will host this fabulous evening featuring Playboy Playmates, the cast of Naked Boys Singing, DJ Vic Latino; hit singer amberRose Marie, club sensation Grace Garland, and many other special guests.

Along with great music and entertainment, Safer Sex In The City will feature an open bar sponsored by Brown-Forman and Vitamin Energy, safer sex "demonstration" tables, a silent auction, and the world premiere of the Museum of Sex traveling exhibit, where our guests will experience sensuous samplings of the museum's renowned collection on the history and cultural significance of human sexuality.

We're proud to announce our newest event sponsor, The Playboy Foundation, which is teaming up with ASC as a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the advancement of HIV prevention education. Other sponsors and supporters of Safer Sex In The City include Brown-Forman, Kenneth Cole, Beth Israel Medical Center, Select Health, Cline Davis & Mann, TGI Office Automation, Impact Technology Solutions, VidaCare, Team New York Aquatics, Red Tide, Vitamin Energy, the New York Chapter of Cable Positive, the Museum of Sex, and Lifebeat. Media sponsors include Party 105, The Onion, POZ Magazine, Shecky's Girls Night Out, amNY, NY Blade, HX Magazine, The Morey Organization, and manhunt.net.

To purchase tickets, call (212) 645-0875 ext. 303, or visit www.safersexinthecity.org.

May 8, 2008

ASC's Peer Education Program is renowned for opening doors and changing lives. Come see what the excitement is all about at the upcoming graduation ceremony for ASC's Peer Recovery Education Program (PREP), an intensive training program that helps men and women affected by HIV/AIDS and in recovery from drug or alcohol use to reach their full potential.

The event will include an unforgettable testimonial by a current PREP graduate and a keynote address by a past graduate. You'll also hear from ASC's executive staff and Board, enjoy refreshments, and celebrate with the graduates. Join us at 41 East 11th Street, 5th Floor for this inspiring event. For more information, contact ASC's Planning Department at 212-645-0875 x 303, or email susan@ascnyc.org.

May 8, 2008

I supervise a three-person case management team that works with the doctors of NY Presbyterian Hospital, Division of Infectious Disease. My team does everything in our power to help HIV patients at the hospital get engaged in medical care and stabilize their situations so they can get better and go on with their lives.

Many of our clients are so sick and have been in and out of the hospital so much, they feel completely hopeless. We help them see that thing can get better, and we try to support and motivate them to get their medical care, stick with their meds, and start to reclaim their lives.

For many patients, the "leap" from in-patient hospital care to getting medical services in an out-patient clinic is overwhelming—there are so many different appointments, so much paperwork, and so much information to absorb. For patients who are already unwell and stressed, it can be too much to handle and they end up falling out of care.

That's where ASC's case management services come in. We start by meeting patients while they're still in the hospital. Once they're discharged, we're there for them every step of the way through the whole medical experience, until they're able to handle things on their own.

Our work is intensive, with a goal toward stabilization, in terms of housing, food and other basic needs. We work closely with their doctors to help coordinate their care. We take them to appointments, help them talk to their doctors, educate them about their medications, and help them resolve the barriers that stop them from taking their meds or keeping their appointments.

A few months ago, we had a gentleman who was at the lowest point in his life—he had 2 T-cells, weighed 90 pounds, and could hardly walk. We advocated for him, calmed him down when he was overwhelmed, escorted him to his doctor's appointments, and encouraged him to take his HIV meds. Now, he has an undetectable viral load, has returned to his normal weight, and feels like himself again. All the services he needs are in place for him. Stories like his make this work totally worthwhile—seeing the difference we can help make in people's lives is amazing.

May 8, 2008

ASC Peer Educator Claudia enjoys her make-over, courtesy of M.A.C. Cosmetics.

In April, the women of HERS @ ASC were treated to a special "Good Spirits" event, courtesy of the M·A·C AIDS Fund, a philanthropic program of M·A·C Cosmetics. HERS @ ASC provides women of color with peer education, HIV testing, medical care, mental health services, housing placement assistance, and other support that helps them embrace physical and emotional well-being.

Inspired by the American Cancer Society's "Look Good…Feel Better" campaign, which teaches patients beauty techniques to help restore their appearance and self-image while undergoing cancer treatment, Good Spirits "makeovers" are provided by skilled M·A·C makeup artists who volunteer their time to bring a bit of pampering to people facing the hardships associated with HIV/AIDS.

During the event, our clients enjoyed some well-deserved relaxation and indulgence, with food, makeup, fun and a celebration of womanhood courtesy of the M·A·C volunteers. In the words of one HERS @ ASC woman, "No one has ever cared about me enough to put makeup on me and take the time to make me feel beautiful. Today, I feel beautiful on the inside and on the outside."

May 8, 2008

In a much-anticipated springtime tradition, ASC's 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.

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 Planning Department at 212-645-0875 x 303, or email susan@ascnyc.org.

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