November 30, 2020
One Day, Two Special Messages World AIDS Day & Giving Tuesday
World AIDS Day was first observed on December 1, 1988 to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS and to commemorate those affected by it. In 2020, the COVID-19 public health crisis has impacted our lives and livelihoods in ways we could not have imagined. The pandemic has demonstrated how closely health is connected with other critical issues like income inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection, and economic stability. Today is not only World AIDS Day, but also Giving Tuesday, a day celebrating global generosity and encouraging people to do good for their community during the holiday season.
KC CARE Health Center is celebrating both these days with a campaign to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and raise funds to support our HIV Services team. While KC CARE has a range of services including primary care, pediatrics, prenatal care, dental services, and behavioral health services among others, HIV care has remained a priority since we offered care to young people in Westport in the 1980s dying from an illness that had no name.
KC CARE opened our doors in 1971 as the Westport Free Health Clinic, a volunteer-run clinic providing free medical services to those who needed it. In the 1980s, KC CARE expanded services to meet the changing needs of the community. When the HIV epidemic struck the Kansas City community, our team led the way in creating a continuum of HIV/AIDS services accessible to all. When HIV testing became available, KC CARE was the only anonymous counseling and testing site in western Missouri. In 1993, KC CARE became the lead Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program agency in Kansas City, responsible for building a system of HIV services in the region.
Today, we provide comprehensive HIV primary care and use an integrated HIV care model to provide wraparound service for our patients. Case managers specialize in supporting specific populations like youth, individuals who are lost-to-care, families, and linkage to care for newly diagnosed individuals. We also have a large outreach and prevention team, including peer-to-peer educators, that perform HIV testing across the region.
Last year, our HIV Services team cared for 3,479 clients through 9,568 encounters, tested 5,185 individuals for HIV, and provided HIV primary care to 1,155 people living with HIV through 3,069 encounters. Your gift today provides critical support to the thousands of people we serve every year.
Corinne Kritikos, Vice President of HIV Services at KC CARE, oversees HIV Case Management, Peer Services, and Prevention teams. This year, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, “KC CARE’s HIV Primary Care, Prevention, and Peer teams all have technology needs that could help us to better serve our patients. Not to mention, many of our patients are struggling with basic needs, like coats and hygiene products. With donations, KC CARE is able to pass out things our patients always need.”
This Giving Tuesday, your gift ensures compassionate care will continue to be accessible and affordable to all.