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Celebrating a Year of Service

In August 2015, 54 people from across the country came together to serve their country as AIDS United AmeriCorps Members. For the past eleven months, AIDS United AmeriCorps Members have been on the frontlines of the HIV epidemic, providing HIV tests, health education, care navigation, and other social services in six communities across the country. Today they complete their service term, joining the next generation of public health leaders!

Reflecting on the AmeriCorps service term, Kristoffer Sverigeson of Albuquerque shared, "I have been so blessed to have this opportunity to serve the people in my community. This program has and will continue to shape my life. It has taught me that in everything I do there is always a chance to help others."

Over the past year, AIDS United AmeriCorps Members served over 90,000 hours in their communities. That’s the equivalent of 11,000 people volunteering one day of service! The difference is that our Members serve full time and integrate into their communities and the agencies where they serve. Additionally, Members: ​​
  • Helped over 10,000 people know their HIV status and counseled them on risk behaviors;
  • Reached over 17,500 people through street-based outreach and community education; and
  • Linked over 2,000 people to medical services and health insurance benefits.

These numbers provide a snapshot of the real impact our AmeriCorps Members make in their communities - each number represents a life changed.  It’s people seeking HIV treatment for the first time, learning their HIV status, or being linked to supportive services. As Jacob Perlson of Chicago reflected, “I have seen what social justice looks like in practice, and I hope to contribute to the fight for health equity for people living with and affected by HIV as a physician.”

AIDS United AmeriCorps Members also organized Long-Term Projects in their communities to counter HIV stigma and increase awareness about HIV care, prevention, and testing. Projects ranged from prevention education campaigns, to raising awareness about PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), to engaging people living with and affected by HIV in community art projects. “Our Long-Term Project was a great opportunity to work with community members and other public health professionals who share a similar goal of increasing access to PrEP. We all challenged ourselves and gained new skills as a result of working on this project. I am so proud of all we accomplished and hope this project can be a community resource for years to come!” said Alison Huddleston of New Orleans.

Alone, one person can only do so much in the span of one year. Together, AIDS United AmeriCorps Members affected the lives of  thousands of people living with and affected by HIV. We are so grateful for their service and cannot wait to see what they accomplish next!

Read the 2016 Long-Term Project Reports:

Posted By: Sarah Hashmall, Program Manager, AIDS United - Friday, July 08, 2016

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