The more things change for AIDS Foundation Houston, the more they stay the same. The HIV service provider moved to a larger location, added a mobile testing unit and changed its name to Allies in Hope.
Yet after more than 40 years of service, the organization’s focus remains unaltered. “Our mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the greater Houston area,” reads the Allies in Hope website, aihhouston.org, adding: “Our vision is a community where HIV is stigma-free and rare, and people have equitable access to care.”
Speaking with ABC 13 news in the video above, Allies in Hope CEO Jeffrey Campbell explained the need for a name change. “AIDS in 2023 is a very stigmatizing term for both people living with HIV as well as those who are vulnerable for HIV,” he said. “The word literally stops people from getting services, even from us.”
Campbell hopes the new location will also increase community access to the HIV services. Allies in Hope is now located in a new 12,000-square-foot space in Midtown, near the Second and Third Wards, Downtown Houston and Montrose, reports ABC’s Eyewitness News.
“We are also layered in with a number of other service providers that serve individuals that are stigmatized and discriminated against and struggling with homelessness and food insecurity,” Campbell explained, “so it puts us in a unique place to provide services we believe will help end the HIV epidemic in the greater Houston area.”
In addition, the new mobile testing unit will bring screenings and treatment for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to even more people.
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According to its website, Allies in Hope serves over 6,000 clients and educates over 75,000 Texans throughout the state. The organization offers testing and treatment services and a variety of community programs, including medical transportation and peer-based education programs for incarcerated and recently released individuals. Last year, the group provided affordable housing for 343 clients and served 347 folks through its Stone Soup Food Pantry. In addition, 186 young people participated in virtual youth camp and 1,430 people have been tested for HIV and received education about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the daily pills and long-acting injectables that prevent a person from contracting HIV.
We have some exciting news! Effective May 22nd, 2023, AIDS Foundation Houston will change its name to Allies in Hope! We look forward to the future and the many exciting updates coming! Learn more about this change at https://t.co/zJtS5B6kKb pic.twitter.com/XKGuWGW3mj— Allies In Hope Houston (@AIHHou) May 1, 2023
This isn’t the first time Allies in Hope has undergone a name change. ABC News reports the service provider was founded in 1982 as Kaposi’s Sarcoma Committee—a reference to the cancerous lesions that were common in early AIDS cases—which became KS AIDS Foundation, which transformed into AIDS Foundation Houston before the current name, Allies in Hope.