February 16 marked the 20th anniversary of the iconic 1980s artist and social activist Keith Haring’s AIDS-related death. On that date, New York City–based Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and the Keith Haring Foundation announced a five-year partnership—including a $250,000 grant—to support GMHC’s food pantry program on Manhattan’s West Side.
Rechristened The Keith Haring Food Pantry Program to honor the pop artist’s legacy, GMHC’s 18-year-old pantry provides nutritious foods to more than 3,600 HIV-positive individuals and families annually.
“Proper nutrition is really one of the most basic and primary tools for assisting with medication management,” Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, chief executive officer of GMHC, tells POZ. “So we use the pantry program and our nutritional care plan as treatment adherence.” Hill explains that studies show individuals who are well nourished have better uptake and absorption of HIV medication. That’s food for thought.