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HopeHelp-bannerIt has been 25 years since Hope & Help Center opened their hearts and their doors to thousands of Floridians impacted by HIV/AIDS.

From the agency’s inception in February of 1988, Hope & Help Center has been the catalyst behind life-saving education and treatment to prevent HIV/AIDS from spreading throughout Central Florida.

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It has been 25 years since Hope & Help Center opened their hearts and their doors to thousands of Floridians impacted by HIV/AIDS.

From the agency’s inception in February of 1988, Hope & Help Center has been the catalyst behind life-saving education and treatment to prevent HIV/AIDS from spreading throughout Central Florida.

“Our mission has been the same for 25 years,” said Executive Director, Marilyn Carifi. “We want to end the spread of HIV/AIDS. Although our agency is proud of how proactive we have been by implementing programs and services to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, our work must continue.”

The CDC recently released statistics showing the devastating impact this disease has had on the gay community, and heterosexuals. According to the CDC, 56,000 new infections in the U.S. are reported annually.

One in five gay/bisexual men in the 21 U.S. cities hardest hit by HIV/AIDS are infected, and nearly half are unaware of their HIV positive status. Men who have sex with men continue to account for more than half of the more than 1 million people living with HIV in the U.S.

Hope & Help Center continues to serve as a refuge of compassion to families impacted by HIV/AIDS. Their list of services has grown from prevention programs and free HIV testing, to include medical case management, peer mentoring, food pantry, help with insurance premiums, and pharmacy eligibility assistance for medications, which can cost upwards of $3200 per month. Hope & Help Center’s mobile testing unit can be seen throughout high risk neighborhoods in Central Florida providing free HIV testing.

Hope & Help Center will mark its 25th anniversary with the opening of a new convenient location on Colonial Drive, expanding its services within the Central Florida community.

“We have to continue to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and raise funds to stop the devastation of this disease. Our donors are to be heralded for their years of financial support. It is because of them that Hope & Help Center has been able to serve the community for 25 years,” said Development. – Director, June Marie Ings.

“After 25 years, ninety cents of every dollar still goes directly to helping our clients,” said Ings.

Major fundraisers will be hosted to kick-off this major milestone starting with, “Wicked After Dark.”

Performers from the Broadway show will sing more show tunes in a Cabaret style setting at The Abbey on Wednesday, March 6 at 11:00 PM. There will be one-of-a-kind auction items at this event, including a walk-on during the Broadway play Wicked.

Other exciting events are scheduled all year for the anniversary, including Donor Recognition programs, AIDS Walk Orlando in May, and the spectacular Headdress Ball in October.

Hope & Help Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with 10 locations serving Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties.

To make a donation to Hope & Help Center, log on to www.hopeandhelp.org.

Donations may also be sent to Hope & Help Center, 1935 Woodcrest Dr., Winter Park, FL 32792.

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