June 5, 1981, holds a special place in the history of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It was when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on the first cases of rare pneumonia affecting young gay men living in New York and California. It would later be identified as HIV/AIDS.

Today we know that HIV doesn’t discriminate and impacts people of all genders, races, sexual orientations, and socio-economic backgrounds. After experiencing decades of death and multiple causalities, many long-term survivors are socially isolated and lacking services that are culturally aware of the early decades of AIDS.

Long-Term Survivors are also more susceptible to conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, liver, and kidney failure, and visceral adipose tissue (lipodystrophy) and GI issues including diarrhea (HIV enteropathy).

Currently, 26% of all 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. became positive before 1996, meaning 300,000 individuals are the longest-term survivors. Many others have been living with HIV for over 15 years.

The sun isn't the only thing that comes out in June. Rainbow flags also start appearing in corporate office windows, coffee shops, and your neighbor's front yard. June has been an unofficial month of celebratory queerness for decades. Though the origins of Pride Month span back to the '50s, President Bill Clinton officially made it "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month" in 2000. President Barack Obama made it more inclusive in 2011, calling it Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. No matter what you call it (I'm a fan of "Gay Christmas"), Pride Month has a rich history that informs how it's observed today.

A big THANK YOU to all who participated in our 2020 Artbeat & More Giving Tree Auction. We hope you had as much fun participating in the auction as we did putting it on. Support from our participants and donors is so important to us right now while our biggest fundraiser, Drag Bingo, remains on hold due to the Covid restrictions. We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to offer items all locally sourced - local artists, local businesses, and local goods. Thank you for supporting our clients and their needs.






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During these uncertain times and as we head into the winter months, we remain highly committed to the health and safety of our clients. Due to underlying health conditions and poverty, they are one of the highest risk groups for contracting COVID-19.  Since the beginning of COVID, we have doubled our Emergency Financial Assistance by supplying vital living necessities and food to over 500 individuals and families. 

We are providing affordable housing to those in need of a safe roof over their heads, and we continue to maintain our crucial programming and services. There is so much more that we have accomplished thanks to your support!

From All of Us at AIDS Care Ocean State:

THANK YOU for your compassion and generosity.  Wishing you all a safe, healthy and happy Winter and Holiday Season.



Every year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognizes Fair Housing Month in April.  If you or someone you know is experiencing housing discrimination because of HIV/AIDS or another protected characteristic, you can file a complaint online<> or contact HUD by phone:
1-800-669-9777 (English/Español)
1-800-877-8339 (Fed Relay)

You may also contact the nearest HUD office<>. You have one year after the alleged discrimination occurred or ended to file a Fair Housing Act complaint<> with HUD and generally 180 days to file a Section 504 complaint<>, but you should file it as soon as possible. More information on fair housing rights can be found in the Fair Housing Act<> and on HUD's webpage for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.<>


This month’s employee spotlight highlights Vanessa Perez, our lead prevention worker at ACOS. She has been with the agency for the past seven years, the first two years as a volunteer. Vanessa was recently recognized for five years of service to ACOS.

Vanessa first came to ACOS as a client. This experience enables her to fully understand what people might be going through the first time they appear on ACOS’ doorstep. As she put it, “I’ve seen things from both sides of the fence.” As the lead prevention worker living openly HIV+, she is hoping to challenge people’s perceptions about what it means to be positive and end the stigma around that diagnosis. One of the things Vanessa feels is important is how all clients walking through our doors are treated with dignity and respect. She says, “You’re not treated like a sick person.”

When asked who has most influenced her work here at ACOS, Vanessa is quick to credit Ray Joseph, the prevention supervisor. His passion for what he does, along with his compassion for the clients, sets the bar high for her. In return, Ray says that what sets Vanessa apart in her position is her capacity to always follow through in making sure clients have what they need, along with a no-nonsense approach which serves her well. Vanessa is quick to mention one of her dear friends who tested positive before she did as the impetus for her involvement at the agency. Seeing someone she loved being affected by the diagnosis inspired her to do what she could to help people in similar situations.

Looking to the future, Vanessa would like to see the agency develop satellite sites in areas where people are at particularly high risk for contracting HIV and Hepatitis C. Ever concerned for people’s well-being, she is thinking about the difficulties some might have in getting to our BroadMed building to access necessary services.