HIV Arkansas is celebrating its tenth year!
HIV Arkansas is celebrating its tenth year of providing support, advocacy and education for the HIV community in Arkansas. We trace our beginnings to the Positive Links Buddy program founded by long term HIV survivor Chris Hannon. The original concept was based on a support organization in San Diego, California. Michael Burks and Heath Lance, founders of HIV Arkansas, joined the buddy program on September 30, 2007. Michael and Heath, together with a group of dedicated visionaries had the dream of taking the organization to the next level.
In May of 2009 the program, NWA Positive Links Support Network (HIV Arkansas), was incorporated with the State of Arkansas as a state public charity. Shortly afterward we obtained our 501(c)3 status from the IRS to become a federally recognized non-profit public charity.
We have grown from a monthly breakfast gathering to a thriving organization reaching the community in dynamic ways.
Significant accomplishments of the organization:
- Two HIV awareness walks. The first walks ever to be held in the NW Arkansas area.
- Conducted an HIV Advocacy Conference in Fayetteville with more than a hundred attendees from all over the State.
- Public forums with the Arkansas Department of Health concerning the management of Ryan White program funds.
- Attended Regional and National HIV/AIDS conferences.
- Served on HIV state boards and work groups.
- Hosted five Positive Living Retreats for those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
- Raised money for the NWA Regional HIV Clinic.
- Provided food support through holiday food drives for those in the HIV community.
- Held educational workshops in Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Ft. Smith and at Arkansas Tech University.
- Conducted over 180 support meetings.
- Established a confidential HIV support hotline
- Established website for HIV education and information pertaining to Arkansas.
- Engaged the community though outreach and education at health fairs and community events.
- Partnered with other agencies to provide HIV Testing.
- In 2011, HIV Arkansas was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from The Community Clinic, a Healthcare Ministry of St. Francis House NWA.
- In 2013, Michael Burks, president of HIV Arkansas was awarded the Dr. Estelita Quimosing AIDS Leadership Award during the 5th Regional HIV/AIDS Conference in Little Rock.
- Have appeared on round table discussions on AETN.
- Attended town hall meeting commissioned by President, Barrack Obama in Jacksonville, Mississippi.
Over the years HIV Arkansas has been proud to serve the HIV positive community in Arkansas and especially NW Arkansas. And we look forward to another 10 years of service.