Grantee Spotlight: Cincinnati’s STOP AIDS

In July, BC/EFA awarded $1,785,000 to 322 AIDS and family service providers nationwide, a 10% increase over 2009’s third and final grant round of $1,684,000.  One of the beneficiaries receiving an unexpected increase (from $5,000 in 2009 to $7,500 this year) was Cincinnati’s STOP AIDS, a longtime BC/EFA grantee.

“The economic situation for many in the Cincinnati area remains pretty dismal, and resources are stretched very thin,” explains STOP AIDS CEO Amy McMahon.  “Broadway Cares’ unwavering support allows STOP AIDS to meet some of the most essential needs for our clients who would otherwise have nowhere to get this help.  When so many others are cutting back or dropping out, being able to count on BC/EFA helps STOP AIDS continue delivering services to over 1,000 HIV+ clients annually.”

And because so much government funding is tightly regulated, McMahon says the flexibility offered by BC/EFA’s grant is essential, allowing STOP AIDS to help some financially strapped clients travel to-and-from medical appointments and others obtain drug assistance in the aftermath of federal cutbacks.  “Transportation is a particularly difficult issue for many of our clients as bus tokens, gas cards, or taxi fare gets harder and harder to come by.  These are just a few of the things we couldn’t do without your support,” McMahon adds. STOP AIDS also hosts an annual “Pet/Vet Day” (pictured at right) where veterinarians volunteer their services to clients who bring in their dogs, cats and other pets.

27 Years of Service
The largest AIDS service organization in its region, STOP AIDS was founded in 1983, during the early days of the epidemic.  Initially volunteer-run, it gradually evolved into a professional service organization with a current budget of $1.8 million.  “Seventeen members of our staff focus on client services, including 13 case managers,” says McMahon.  “And we keep them busy. Our caseload is substantial; we see about 24,000 people a year.”

State and federal funding make up most of the budget, although fundraising events, individual donors and foundation support also play a major role.

Blanketing their Community
In addition to counseling and treatment, STOP AIDS focuses on community outreach (left), prevention and education.  “We conduct about 3,000 tests a year, including testing for Hepatitis C,” McMahon says.  “But we also do a variety of community based prevention education programs, including programming that is recommended by the CDC.”

Staff and volunteers conduct outreach in bars and nightclubs, at Cincinnati’s gay and lesbian pride parade, as well as in high schools and even churches.

“We have been approached by, and welcomed into, a number of local, predominately African American churches,” says McMahon.  “And these outreach efforts have been extremely successful.”