ARE’s journey began over 20 years ago when a handful of concerned members of our community came together with the compassionate foresight to begin addressing the needs of the AIDS crisis in the Winchester community in the late 1980′s. Their initial effort was in establishing a support group and “buddy” system for those living with HIV/AIDS. A strong belief in quality HIV/AIDS client services and education has made ARE the sole provider of HIV/AIDS services in the Lord Fairfax Health District 7 (LFHD7) service area (Winchester City, Frederick, Warren, Clarke, Shenandoah and parts of Page counties).
ARE was incorporated in Richmond, VA on May 24, 1991. In 1998 ARE and Valley Health Services created a pilot project to establish a Medical Management Clinic (MMC) for HIV/AIDS clients. These clients were able to have comprehensive case management and medical care, nutritional counseling, substance abuse and mental health care in a single appointment in a comfortable medical setting. This pilot project ended in September 2000 because of the changing health care needs of the clients. Many became healthier, returned to work or obtained Medicaid/Medicare services.
As the epidemic has changed from one of crisis to a chronic manageable disease, the needs of ARE clients have also changed. ARE now has clients that have a variety of needs that range from access to primary medical or dental care and case management, to needs for housing emergency food, transportation and drug assistance. ARE has been successful in providing access or referral to medical and specialty care for its client base.
It has been over 30 years since a clinical description of AIDS, one of history’s worst pandemics, was created…effectively defining the disease. While we all look forward to the day that HIV and AIDS is only a memory, ARE continues our service of advocating and educating our community about HIV/AIDS as we have been for more than 20 years.