AHP marks 30 years of AIDS care

Supervisors_Scott_WienerOne of the first organizations to recognize the importance of addressing

mental health needs of people living with HIV/AIDS marked 30 years

of service with a recent reception at its Market Street offices in San

Francisco.

According to its publications, the UCSF Alliance Health Project

recognized early on that the HIV/AIDS epidemic had a devastating

psychological impact on people. It was among the first organizations to

emphasize mental health and wellness and to provide emotional support

and therapy to HIV-positive and HIV-negative people, as well as their

loved ones.

Today, AHP’s services include case management, individual and

couples counseling, and psychiatry. It also provides education and

training in addition to its HIV/AIDS publications. Support groups are

available for lesbians with disabilities, people coping with trauma,

transgender folks, the newly positive, men over 50, and LGBTQ folks

coping with sex and sobriety.

AHP has an annual budget of just under $8 million, said spokeswoman

DK Haas. It serves about 6,500 unduplicated clients, and that figure

includes HIV tests and provider training that AHP is contracted to do

around California.

The agency’s longtime executive director, Dr. James Dilley, reflected on

its growth over the years at the March 21 event.

“A friend of mine asked me what it is like to be part of an organization

that has gone from those early days to today, and my answer was

gratitude,” Dilley said. “And, as Hillary Clinton famously said, ‘it takes

a village.’ That is certainly true not only in raising a child, but in raising

an organization.”

Another speaker was AHP medical director Dr. George Harrison, who

said that he couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.

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