After 25 years of service to persons at risk of or living with HIV, I believe the support services provided by all organizations serving the Seattle area community are outstanding.
For nearly a quarter century, Lifelong AIDS Alliance has helped save the lives of these folks that otherwise would not have access to medicine, food, housing and medications. As a longtime client stated recently, “Because of Lifelong, Seattle is one of the best places to live.” I’m proud to work at Lifelong and thrilled to join those organizations and people who serve clients with HIV.
This year I would like to especially thank Gay City. The organization will be the first to provide on-site testing at the 25th Anniversary Seattle AIDS Walk September 24 at Volunteer Park. To register, please visit Seattle AIDS Walk.
Despite it all, we still haven't served all those in need nor have we been ultimately successful in reducing new infections. Without business/community support, service levels could diminish and mirror the trends nationwide. Many communities are experiencing tremendous cuts.
The near future brings many challenges; not the least of which is to prepare for the uncertain effects of HealthCare Reform for people living with chronic communicable diseases. We need your help. Complacency is our biggest enemy. Although new infection rates have stabilized, at least 400 people are infected each year in this region. Experience shows us that when we don’t pay attention, the epidemic comes roaring back.
Your support and investment will enable Lifelong to continue to make a difference in our communities. Lifelong kindly connects people to life when: a persons tests positive for HIV; a person needs food, shelter, or clothing; a person needs connection to a physician, mental health professional, or someone to help them navigate their own lives.
Lifelong is looking forward while serving those with needs in the present. The future holds healthcare reform, restricted budgets, and a culture that will homogenize chronic communicable diseases such as HIV. Lifelong will lead the policy analysis and advocacy effort to ensure people with HIV receive the needed prevention, care, and treatment post healthcare reform. Our collective community of organizations that serve people at risk or living with HIV will work together to meet this challenge.
Seattle’s moral obligation to care about those with the highest needs defines who we are as a community; those who are disenfranchised will be treated inclusively. It is one of Seattle’s best attributes. Please support the Seattle AIDS Walk. You can learn more at Seattle AIDS Walk.
Randy Russell is CEO at Lifelong AIDS Alliance