St. Louis Effort for AIDS merging with Wisconsin HIV non-profit

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA) will be merging with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), media reports said Thursday.

The combined organizations will be headquartered in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee BizTimes reported. However, Effort for AIDS will keep working under its own name. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the St. Louis branch would be moving into a new building near St. Louis University Hospital.

ARCW had been advertising for a number of jobs in the St. Louis area, according to the Post-Dispatch, including director of prevention services, pharmacy manager and administrative assistant. ARCW had merged with Denver-based Rocky Mountain CARES last year, both publications reported.

St. Louis Effort for AIDS was founded in December 1985. According to its website, EFA provides support services to around 1,316 clients per month. It also performs testing for about 1,360 people with community outreach.

The combined non-profits said in a statement that EFA has seen an increase in the demand for its programs and services as a record number of people are living with HIV. There are an estimated 6,145 people living with HIV in the St. Louis area. But only 50 percent are regularly engaged in care according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Bureau of Reportable Disease Informatics.

“This merger will allow us to offer a new model of care to people living with HIV in St. Louis while also helping us better prevent new HIV infections, reduce AIDS-related deaths, stigma and other barriers to testing, care and treatment,” said Tawnya Brown, the new vice president of operations for the AIDS Resource Center, in the statement. “Additionally, through our partnership with Washington University and other organizations, we will make sure more people with HIV in St. Louis have access to all the HIV care and treatment they need to achieve viral suppression and optimal health.”

The merged organizations also announced winning a $1.7 million grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The funds will help with the merger and the operation of the HIV Medical Home in St. Louis, the organizations said.

According to the Post-Dispatch, ARCW reported $27 million in revenue in 2016 from grants, donations and other sources. EFA reported nearly $3 million in revenue the same year.

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