The Pride Center at Equality Park is a community center for the entire community offering everything from a flea market and bingo to couples counseling and transgender education.
Now a familiar group is finding a home on the sprawling campus: AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
“AHF has always had a longstanding partnership with the Pride Center,” AHF’s Aaron Cutright said. “We represent similar interests and we wanted to pursue this for further accessibility.”
The organization already has an office in Wilton Manors, but accessibility and parking can be a challenge. Those issues along with the new senior housing on campus and the general reopening of the buildings made Pride Center a logical choice for a new office.
“We wanted to bring awareness, keep people in care, provide medications and resources to the entire community,” he said.
People can drop off their prescriptions and pick them up at the other Wilton Manors location or order them in advance and collect them at the new location at the Pride Center. They’re still getting settled in but eventually will offer case management, testing, PrEP services, linkage to care, Ryan White case management and more.
The key to maintaining health is keeping people in treatment, and Cutright said every case is different.
“If you look at the disparities among the communities it can be as simple as transportation. It can be as simple as not being educated about benefits.”
Different people may qualify for different programs, and AHF specializes in getting people all they’re entitled to.
“Adherence is key. A lot of people don’t understand what steps to take after [the] COVID [crisis] and losing their jobs,” he said. “It's been scary.”
AHF continued delivering services through the pandemic, but now they are getting back out with engagement in the community, and a big step was the incredibly successful AIDS Walk.
“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “We didn’t know what to expect. We were hoping for the best but unsure. It was the first event the city had allowed to happen.”
Cutright said they raised $1.9 million, and 96 cents of every dollar goes back to communities and programs. Beyond the money, he was encouraged by the sea of people who participated.
“To see the representation in the 800 people that showed up,” he said. “That alone showed that as a community we’re still willing to come together and do what’s right and move forward in light of everything that’s happened.”
The new offices are at 2038 N. Dixie Highway Suite 104, on the backside of the building past the auditorium.
For more on AHF’s services and hours go to their website at AidsHealth.org.