December 1st marked World AIDS Day, a day where the lives of those lost to HIV/AIDS are remembered and leaders from around the world pledge to find a cure for the virus. While treatment for HIV has improved significantly since the first World AIDS Day in 1988, with around 18,000 Americans dying of AIDS-related illnesses each year, there is still much more work to be done. Fortunately, organizations like the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), with its dedicated team of staff and volunteers, are doing tremendous work in helping people with HIV/AIDS live full, happy, and healthy lives.
Given the considerable but often neglected overlap of people who experience both substance use disorders and HIV/AIDS-related complications, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Haymarket Center are partners in providing critical health services throughout Chicagoland. AFC has generously funded Haymarket Center for 23 years. These funds provide a variety of services for patients in recovery, including HIV testing, risk reduction counseling, psychosocial support and much more. To build on these services, expanded grant funds will support trauma-informed case management services to help patients connect with and retain benefits.
“Since we specialize in substance use disorder treatment primarily rather than HIV treatment, we will refer HIV-positive patients with substance use disorders to the AFC for long-term care,” explained Gilberto Soberanis, Manager of Haymarket Center’s Health and Wellness Department. “They will then provide these patients with long-term care counselors, treatment for HIV, and even things such as financial support and transportation for treatment.”
Gilberto has a unique relationship with the AFC, having worked there before his career development led him to Haymarket. Gilberto continues to support AFC through the Team to End AIDS (T2), an endurance-training charity team dedicated to raising funds for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago by participating in high-profile athletic events such as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.