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Being Alive launches Medical Community Fund to preserve HIV/AIDS services

SAN DIEGO -- Being Alive San Diego has announced the "Medical Community Fund," a major fundraising campaign intended to preserve services for San Diegans living with HIV/AIDS, considered some of most vulnerable residents in the county.

Several physicians have already pledged to the fund, and Being Alive hopes to reach other "care givers" in the area to participate. All pledges to the fund up to $50,000 will be matched.

Being Alive provides services for more than 8,000 HIV/AIDS patients every year, and handles over 10,000 calls from people seeking treatment and support. Noting that the organization recognizes people as more than just statistics, executive director Shannon Wagner says "these are more than just numbers -- they are people in crisis."

More than 90% of Being Alive's clients are not only dealing with HIV/AIDS, but are also living at or below the federal poverty level. Being Alive's programs are designed to keep this often fragile population connected to medical care and treatment.

"Every day we aspire to make their lives more manageable, to bring them out of isolation and despair and connected to care – we do this by providing a variety of wellness programs that are not provided anywhere else," Wagner said.

Being Alive's services include:

- Holistic AIDS Response Program: Provides massage, chiropractic care, reiki, reflexology, acupuncture and other complimentary therapies to combat the side effects from taking HIV meds over time;

- Daniel’s Pantry & Farmers Market: Provides food for every member of the household. Ensuring proper nutrition for our clients depends on our ability to augment “government surplus food” with fresh produce, meats and dairy items;

- Recreation Program: Provides over 7,000 tickets annually to our low-income clients who would otherwise be house-bound socially – this is the only way they are able to attend a play, visit a museum or see a sporting event;

- New Beginnings: This 14-week educational series is designed for the newly diagnosed HIV+ patient. It covers everything from HIV 101 to employment, when and how to disclose your status, medical coverage, selecting a physician, nutrition – and much, much more;

- Peer Advocacy: San Diego’s original peer advocacy program is still going strong! This is the “heart” of our agency- peer volunteers are required to complete an extensive education and training program as well as a six month internship with an established Peer Counselor. We find that most (if not all) of our clients respond favorably to a Peer who has “been there before” – there is a level of trust between Peer and client that allows us to remove barriers to care and treatment;

- Helping Hands Moving Services: Provides free moving services to clients facing eviction. We assist them to find affordable housing, sign up for rental subsidies and provide all the supplies necessary to complete the move prior to becoming homeless and disrupting medical care;

- Animeals: This unique partnership between Being Alive San Diego and the Helen Woodward Animal Center ensures our low-income clients with companion animals receive complete and proper nutrition for their pets. This program ensures our most vulnerable population does not have to give up their faithful companion;

- Support Groups: Whether you are newly diagnosed or a long-time survivor, we have a variety of on-going support groups to meet the needs of every client;

- Other services include: Adherence and Medication Support, AIDS Drug Assistance Program enrollment, Medical Coverage plan enrollment, Medication Update Forums, Court and Non-Court Ordered HIV 101 classes, Complimentary Haircuts and Resource Library.

To contribute to Being Alive or its new Medical Community Fund, click HERE or call 619-291-1400.