For 25 years, the HIV/AIDS Initiative of The Actors Fund has been helping members of the entertainment industry living with HIV/AIDS cope with the extraordinary challenges of healthcare, insurance coverage for medications and housing expenses, as well as the occasional financial and emotional crises brought on by the disease on both a short- and long-term basis. The initiative works with the newly diagnosed, those living and working with the virus and those who are seriously ill.
BC/EFA funding represents more than 80% of the HIV/AIDS Initiative’s budget and we continue to work closely with The Actors Fund to provide leadership, coalition building and the fundraising necessary to keep the promise that we will “take care of our own” for as long as AIDS is with us.
In fiscal year 2012, BC/EFA gave $2,100,000 to the HIV/AIDS Initiative. Of this, $1,298,739 was used for emergency financial assistance for 236 clients in New York and across the country. Our grant also supported personnel, administrative costs, volunteer needs and other expenses associated with client case management.
The collaboration between BC/EFA and The Actors Fund’s HIV/AIDS Initiative is a model for how an industry can respond with effectiveness and compassion to the AIDS crisis. The HIV/AIDS Initiative provides a full spectrum of essential supportive services, including: emergency financial assistance (for basic necessities such as rent, food, health insurance and non-reimbursable medical expenses); case management referrals to other sources of community and public assistance; benefits advocacy; vocational retraining; and counseling and support groups for people with HIV/AIDS and their partners, families and caregivers.
Changes in the AIDS environment have had a significant impact on clients. The effectiveness of protease inhibitors, available since 1996, has had major service implications as The AIDS Initiative shifts from helping people with a fatal disease to assisting those with a chronic, manageable one. In the past, The AIDS Initiative often helped clients prepare for a more dependent level of living. Now, advances in treatment have allowed staff to prepare clients for their independence by helping them to build skills and learn more about the supportive network that can help them remain highly functioning individuals.
"The HIV/AIDS Initiative helped me get housing and gave me emotional support and listened to me when life was difficult. I have a second family - I don't consider myself a client."
"So with new appreciation for what you do and what you have made possible, I thank you with all my heart. Beyond the obvious immediate benefits, I am most grateful for the spirit in which help is given…that the circumstances I found so overwhelming were indeed manageable.”
For more information about The Actors Fund, visit actorsfund.org.