The AIDS Resource Center of Ohio, or ARC, has opened a new medical center near the University of Dayton campus. The center will be funded in part by its own in-house pharmacy on the first floor of the Wright Health Building, where the center will take over the second floor.
ARC already works with about 800 HIV-positive clients in the Dayton area, but provides casework rather than medical services. ARC director Bill Hardy says working with patients in a sustained, coordinated way—including casework, housing assistance, and mental health services alongside medical care—is the best way to keep people in consistent treatment for HIV and AIDS.
Sustained treatment is key, because these days deaths from AIDS are preventable if the virus is detected and treated early enough, and in an ongoing way.
“We now know that if we get folks diagnosed soon after infection and link them and keep them in care soon after diagnosis, their life expectancy is near-normal, their quality of life is very healthy and it’s virtually impossible for them to infect other folks,” said Hardy at Wednesday’s opening event for the center. “And we can’t believe we’re saying this, we weren’t saying this just ten years ago.”
The new medical center aims to serve 300 patients in the first year. A similar center opened in 2012 in Columbus began with a goal of 300 patients, and has already exceeded that goal at around 500.
The pharmacy is open to the public, and all the profits go back to the center. In 2013, 14 people died of known cases of AIDS in Montgomery County, and nearly 700 fatalities have been recorded since the 1980s.