Foodies and restaurateurs will come together for the annual C.A.R.E. to Dine fundraiser on Thursday, October 8, 2015. Every breakfast, lunch or dinner taken at a participating restaurant will benefit St. Mary Medical Center’s C.A.R.E. Program, the only regional comprehensive HIV health service.
Participating restaurants throughout Long Beach have agreed to donate at least 20 percent or more of Oct. 8 food and beverage proceeds to C.A.R.E. (Comprehensive AIDS Resource and Education).
Participating C.A.R.E. to Dine restaurants include: Ambrosia Café, Baja Sonora Restaurants, Bo-Beau Kitchen & Roof Tap, Coffee Cup Café, George’s Greek Café, Hamburger Mary’s, Kafe Neo, La Parolaccia, La Strada, La Traviata, Legends Sports Bar, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine , Naples Rib Company, Paradise Piano Bar, Rick & Brian’s Café & Bakery, The Original Park Pantry, and The Silver Fox Bar/Nightclub.
Marcia Alcouloumre, MD, Medical Director of C.A.R.E. Clinic, said the fundraiser represents community engagement and “lets HIV-affected people know that their community is behind them.”
St. Mary Medical Center Foundation Board member Gina Smith, a longtime supporter of the hospital and co-chair of the C.A.R.E. 21 Society fundraising group, described C.A.R.E. to Dine as, “doing something good and having a good time. And 100 percent of proceeds go to St. Mary C.A.R.E.”
Lorena Fortiz, who works for the C.A.R.E. Program and organizes the C.A.R.E. to Dine fundraiser, said C.A.R.E. took in about $23,000 in proceeds from the fundraiser last year. “The goal this year is to raise $35,000 in proceeds and to reconnect with the Long Beach community that appreciates and supports our mission,” said Fortiz.
There are still opportunities to host a happy hour group or a table on the evening of Oct. 8. For more information, call Lorena at (562) 624-4959.
The nationally recognized C.A.R.E. program relies on charitable support from donors to operate many key programs and services. The C.A.R.E. program at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach is a nonprofit that provides high-quality health and social services for HIV/AIDS-infected and affected individuals and families. The program, established in 1986, is one of the first clinics dedicated to treating people with HIV and provides high-quality, compassionate service. C.A.R.E. delivers medical, dental and wraparound services to more than 1,200 patients annually.
It seems that recently, popular press coverage around HIV has been more focused on attention-grabbing headlines that focus on research into "cures," or what scientists may refer to as functional remission: the HIV is still there, but reproducing at a rate so low that it wouldn't transmit or cause harm to the patient. Closer on the horizon are some significant changes that will make a big difference in the short term.
One of these changes now in clinical trials are new versions of existing drugs that can be given as injectables. Though most folks would prefer to swallow a pill rather than give themselves a shot, these new drugs would only need to be dosed once a month or possibly once every three months. This may solve a lot of adherence issues for folks whose housing may not be that stable, or mental health or addiction issues may get in the way of taking pills consistently and correctly.
Another place in the chain from diagnoses to undetectable where barriers exist, is the link from finding out you're positive, to seeing an infectious disease specialist for HIV care.
Current treatment guidelines call for various tests to take place before a patient is started on medications. Because all medications get processed through the kidney or liver to various degrees, doctors want to see the level of function in these organs before starting them on particular medications. Doctors also want a viral load, partly because certain drugs are preferred in patients with a higher amount of virus. A genotype test is run to find out if a patient's particular strain of HIV is resistant to any medications, and there are also tests for particular medications--either to find out if a patient will have a bad reaction to the drug, or to find out if the receptors on the cells that get infected are the type that the medication will block.
Because of the qualities of newer medications, it's possible to come up with a regimen that can work around these issues. One advantage is that the person can be started on medications as soon as they're diagnosed--rather than waiting weeks for results to come back from the labs.
One study reported on at the International AIDS Society conference in Vancouver this summer showed that immediate therapy was accepted, reduced viral loads sooner, and got more patients into care. One byproduct of this strategy is a reduced community-wide viral load, meaning fewer new infections in the future.
"Medical evidence is clear: All people living with HIV must have access to antiretroviral treatment upon diagnosis. Barriers to access in law, policy, and bias must be confronted and dismantled. And as part of a combination prevention effort, PrEP must be made available to protect those at high risk of acquiring HIV...A new era of opportunity against this epidemic has dawned, and we must seize it."
-An excerpt from the Vancouver Consensus, which can be found here:
In 1996, almost twenty years ago, the International AIDS Conference in Vancouver announced the advent of highly-active anti-retroviral therapy, the first effective treatment that could stop the HIV virus. At the time, you could walk down Broadway here in Long Beach, and see all the hollow-cheeked faces of the men you knew would be dead in weeks or months. At the time, the HIV test had been around for ten years, yet few folks got tested because there was little that could be medically done to stop the virus.
Having a positive test result could be detrimental in other ways. If an employer would find out, persons living with HIV could loose their jobs--both from unfounded fears of transmission in the workplace, and the employers' more realistic fear that having an HIV-positive employee would increase a company's health insurance premiums.
At the time, I had been positive a little over a year, and I saw my CD4 count drop from a robust and healthy high 800s to an AIDS-defining less than two hundred. There were no physical signs of the virus, but inside I felt like I was in the cockpit of a race car, speeding straight for a brick wall. I could chart out the decline of my T-cells, and had months to go before the line reached zero. When the news came from Vancouver, it felt like that brick wall exploded in front of me, and by the luck of being born in the right country at the right time, I was given a reprieve. A few years later I got a dog, because for the first time I felt like I would outlive a dog.
Like the last Vancouver conference, it feels like we now have the power to change the course of the pandemic. Twenty years ago, it was about stopping the virus in bodies, and turning HIV into a chronic, manageable condition. Today we have the tools to keep negative folks from acquiring HIV and positive folks from transmitting it. And without having to wait for another miracle down the pipeline, we can end this with the tools we have today.
Back in the days of Ryan White funded services, getting access to HIV care was a pretty straight forward affair. As long as you made less than $44,000 a year, all of the your cost of care was covered. Ryan White funding included help for housing, food, dental care, transportation and more. We learned that if folks had stable housing, access to mental health and drug treatment programs, they did better medically. The one problem with Ryan White services was that they only covered HIV and related care. If you broke your leg or had some other non-HIV medical issue, you were out of luck.
Now with the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), out patients have access to the full spectrum of medical services. As part of these changes, existing programs like MediCal and Medicare are now providing HMO type health insurance. Covered California, our local version of Obamacare, also offers HMO style choices.
For many of the CARE Program's patients, they've never had to navigate the complexities of an HMO plan. They could come directly to the CARE Clinic and receive services. Rather than MediCal paying the patient's medical bills directly, MediCal now pays insurance companies. Patients are required to have a primary care doctor that refers them to HIV specialty care, and the insurance companies first need to authorize the services. The insurance companies don't contract directly with doctors; instead they contract with medical groups, and if you see several specialists, they now have to belong to the same medical group.
Over the years, we've learned in HIV care that having a case manager, social worker, or nurse advocate for the patient makes for better health outcomes. Now more than ever, patients need help navigating the insurance and healthcare system.
To that end, CARE will be offering a benefits forum, so that clients can learn more about changes in their healthcare, sign up for programs that allow them to continue to see their specialists, and ask questions of experts in benefits, health insurance, and government programs. The forum will take place on Friday, April 24th from 11:00 to 2:00 pm on the campus of St. Mary Medical Center.
The forum takes place in the Parr Building, located between the parking structure and the CARE Dental Clinic. If you'd like to attend, call Jay Villareal at (562) 624-4987. Lunch will be provided.
Join us on Saturday, April 25th for a festive evening featuring selections of fine wines, paired with savory hors d'oeuvres and delicious deserts!
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by Keir Jones and T.M. Dileva
Signal Hill, CA 90755
The C.A.R.E. 21 Society was formed to raise awareness and funding for the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS program in Long Beach and the South Bay. A program which has been called the "Gold Standard" in HIV care. Guests at Spring for C.A.R.E! are asked to renew or become a new member of the C.A.R.E. 21 Society by contributing $500 or more per year ($41.67 per month).
All funds raised through C.A.R.E. 21 Society members are used to support unfunded C.A.R.E. programs and services, including, unmet needs of our medical case management for clients with advanced HIV/AIDS, our medical and dental clinics, mental health services, and the C.A.R.E. food pantry. In addition to recognition in St. Mary Medical Center Foundation's annual report, C.A.R.E. 21 Society members receive complimentary tickets for themselves and a guest to attend the St. Mary Medical Center Foundation 21 Society Dinner.
If you would like to join or renew your membership in C.A.R.E. 21 Society and attend Spring for C.A.R.E!, RSVP by April 20th to Kimberly Eclarino at (562) 491-9225 or Kimberly.Eclarino@DignityHealth.org.
Thank you for your support!
Spring for C.A.R.E. 2015 Honorary Committee:
Foodies and restaurateurs will convene at the Long Beach Musuem of Art on Sunday, Aug. 17 for the C.A.R.E. to Dine Kickoff Party. The reception-by-the-sea provides local restaurateurs with an introduction to the community of diners who will soon make serious lunch and dinner plans for the upcoming annual C.A.R.E. to Dine fundraiser on Sept. 25.
Participating restaurants throughout Long Beach have agreed to donate 20 percent or more of each patron’s bill on C.A.R.E. to Dine Day, Sept. 25 to the C.A.R.E. Program, the only regional comprehensive HIV health service.
The C.A.R.E. Program provides high-quality health and social services for HIV/AIDS-infected and affected individuals and families in a manner that is professional and compassionate, recognizing the dignity and autonomy of each individual.
The nationally recognized C.A.R.E. Program relies on charitable support from donors to operate many key programs and services. Restaurants participating in the C.A.R.E. to Dine fundraiser include: La Traviata, Kafe Neo, Original Park Pantry, Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria, Newport●Naples Rib Company, La Strada Italiano, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, Rick & Brian’s Café & Bakery, and La Parolaccia. The most up-to-date list of participating restaurants can be found here.
The C.A.R.E. to Dine Kick-Off event will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Long Beach Museum of Art, 2300 East Ocean Blvd. The event will feature food, drinks, entertainment and a silent auction. Community leaders Thomas-Michael Dileva and Keir Jones also will be honored at the party.
Tickets are $25 per person and members of the CARE 21 Society will receive two complimentary tickets. For reservations, call (562) 491-9225 or you can purchase your tickets online.
This Saturday and Sunday at First Congregational Church in Long Beach will have the world premiere performance of a new musical work by Curtis Heard, the dedicated and talented Choir teacher at Woodrow Wilson Classical High School, and Lesléa Newman, author of October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard.
Shepard, a gay twenty-one year-old University of Wyoming student, was lured from a bar by two young men, then beaten, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, and left to die. Five days later, Lesléa Newman arrived on campus to give the keynote speech for the University of Wyoming’s Gay Awareness Week. October Mourning is Newman’s deeply personal response to the events of that tragic day and its brutal aftermath. The work of poetic imagination explores the impact of the vicious crime through fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence to which Matthew was tied, the deer that kept watch beside him, and even Matthew himself. The stunning cycle of sixty-eight poems serves as an illumination for those too young to remember and as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard’s life and legacy.
About a year ago, Curtis Heard was commissioned to set some of the poems to music for a dramatic production of October Mourning. He found the words so compelling that the initial six poems eventually became nineteen. Heard also wrote underscoring for the remaining poems. He is excited to be presenting the entire work at First Congregational Church in downtown Long Beach with the Sanctuary Choir, soloists, and a chamber orchestra. The Wilson High School Studio Singers and Concert Choir have also been asked to sing a few selections. It is expected that the collaboration between poetry, music, orchestra and choir will have a dramatic impact on the work as a whole.
Leslea Newman, the author of the poems, will be present as well.
The C.A.R.E. Program launches their annual fundraising campaign for the C.A.R.E. 21 Society with Spring for C.A.R.E. Join other C.A.R.E. 21 members on Saturday, May 31 for a festive afternoon featuring selections of fine wines, paired with savory hors d'oeuvres, and delicious desserts!
The C.A.R.E. 21 Society was formed to raise awareness and funding for the only comprehensive HIV/AIDS program, which has been called the "Gold Standard" in HIV care. Guests at Spring for C.A.R.E. are asked to renew or become a new member of the C.A.R.E. 21 Society by contributing $500 or more per year ($41.67 per month). All funds raised through C.A.R.E. 21 Society members are used to support unfunded C.A.R.E. programs and services.
In addition to recognition on your online Donor Listing, C.A.R.E. 21 Society members receive complimentary tickets for themselves and a guest to attend the annual C.A.R.E. to Dine Kickoff Party at the Long Beach Museum of Art and the St. Mary Medical Center Foundation 21 Sociery Annual Reception.
Spring for C.A.R.E. 2014 Honorary Committee includes:
Dr. Marcia Alcouloumre, Medical Director at C.A.R.E.
Keir Jones and T.M. Dileva, Hosts, Keir Jones State Farm Insurance Agency
Bonnie Lowenthal, Assemblymember, State of California
Miguel Angel Ortiz-Valenzuela, Assistant Director, NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community
Gina Smith, Board of Trustees, St. Mary Medical Center Foundation
Ron Sylvester, President and Board Chair, The Center-Long Beach
If you'd like to attend or become a C.A.R.E. 21 Society member, contact email@example.com
At the CAREProgram.org website, at the top of the page, above the banner, is a link that says, "Just Tested Positive?" That link will take you to a page where you can download the newly updated guide to HIV resources in Long Beach.
The guide was written with the newly diagnosed in mind, but it's also a great resource for those who have been living with HIV for a while, but are new to the community. For the newly diagnosed, it lists resources to help you notify your partners, and websites where you can find out more information on HIV.
The resource section includes a list of all the specialists who treat HIV for patients with private insurance, and all the community clinics. There's also a listing of HIV mental health services, including psychiatry, one-on-one counseling with therapists that have experience working with positive clients, and a list of local support groups.
The second section of the guide discusses the process of getting into care, including a new section on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and how it impacts persons living with HIV. There's also a new expanded section on HIV transmission, including medications that can keep a negative partner negative.
The section on acessing care also includes the basics around lab tests, medications and your immune system, and HIV services in Orange County.
At the end of the guide is a list of gay- and hiv-friendly 12 step meetings in the Long Beach area.
The previous version of the guide which has been on line for two years has had close to 2,000 downloads.