ACRIA Receives Major 5-Year Grant to Support Sexual Health Education Programs for Youth in New York City

New York, NY (April 12, 2017) – ACRIA, a New York City-based national organization renowned for its research, education and advocacy programs and expertise on HIV and aging, announced today that it is the recipient of a five-year grant, totaling $500,000, from the Keith Haring Foundation to support its sexual health education and leadership development programs benefitting youth in New York City.  The grant, which will provide funding through 2021, allows ACRIA to enhance its HIV and teen pregnancy prevention programs offered to youth, their parents, and other youth allies in schools and community settings located in neighborhoods heavily impacted by HIV across the New York City metropolitan area.

“We are honored to once again partner with the Keith Haring Foundation to further our shared goal of addressing the critical need for comprehensive, age appropriate, and culturally competent sexual health education for young people across the five boroughs,” said Benjamin Bashein, Executive Director of ACRIA. “For nearly a decade, the Foundation has played a major role in strengthening ACRIA’s life-saving AIDS research and education programs.  On behalf of our board of directors, I thank them. We are enormously grateful to be taking this next step forward with their support.” 

"Chief among Keith Haring's stated goals in establishing his foundation was providing financial support to the HIV/AIDS community. We are privileged to work with ACRIA, an organization profoundly committed to improving the lives of those affected by AIDS and HIV. It is our honor to help sustain and expand their long-standing youth education and leadership development programs,” said Julia Gruen, Executive Director of the Keith Haring Foundation.

New York City’s HIV epidemic continues to take a heavy toll on young people. Compared to their peers, Black and Hispanic youth continue to experience disproportionately high rates of HIV infections. In April 2015, the New York State Department of Health released data indicating that together, Black and Hispanic youth in New York City, ages 12 to 24, account for 85% of new HIV diagnoses and 91% of new AIDS diagnoses.  

ACRIA’s targeted work in communities of color across the five boroughs, along with its strategic partnerships with the NYC Department of Health, the NYC Department of Education, and over 700 schools and community groups, has given the organization unique insight into the sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention needs of underserved and under-resourced communities, especially among their youth. Through the organization’s Love Heals Youth Education Program, well over 700,000 youth and thousands of their parents, teachers, community leaders, and other youth allies have been reached through expert facilitated trainings and presentations.

About the Keith Haring Foundation

Established in 1989 by the late artist Keith Haring (1958-1990), the Keith Haring Foundation supports US-based non-profit organizations that provide educational opportunities to underserved youth as well as to organizations that engage in education, prevention and care related to AIDS and HIV. Haring additionally charged his Foundation with maintaining and protecting his artistic legacy. The Foundation maintains a large collection of his art, along with archives that facilitate historical research about the artist and the times and places in which he lived and worked. The Foundation supports arts and educational institutions by funding programs and publications that serve to contextualize and illuminate the artist’s work and philosophy. During the last years of his life, Haring often enlisted his imagery to speak about his own illness and to generate activism and awareness about AIDS. To date, his Foundation has given over $15 million in grants.

For further information about Haring and the Keith Haring Foundation, visit

ACRIA Receives $200,000 Grant From The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

We are honored to announce that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has awarded ACRIA a two-year, $200,000 grant for its lifesaving work. This generous grant will support our groundbreaking research and education programs, including our "HIV 101" series for people newly diagnosed with the disease, our widely-lauded research on the lives of people aging with HIV, training to strengthen community-based organizations all over the U.S., and programs targeting at-risk high school students across New York City.

"The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is excited to continue support for ACRIA's innovative programs, which are finding unique solutions to ending the HIV epidemic across the U.S. and around the world," said Roula Siklas, Program Officer at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. "ACRIA has consistently been on the front lines of finding effective treatments for HIV and providing people with the most up-to-date information about the disease. We are proud to be their partner in advancing this important work."

Thanks to this support, ACRIA will be able to respond quickly to community needs, and apply funding to where it is needed most. We are deeply grateful for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation's commitment to this work.

ACRIA Awarded Generous Grant for Lifesaving HIV Education

We are honored to announce that The Keith Haring Foundation has awarded ACRIA $25,000 in support of our "Living with HIV" workshops. This generous gift will allow our HIV educators to conduct New York City's only regularly scheduled education series for people newly diagnosed with the disease. As the founding supporter of this program, The Keith Haring Foundation has already provided hundreds of New Yorkers with an essential lifeline during a critical and very difficult time in their lives.       

"The Keith Haring Foundation is proud to support ACRIA's critically important and pioneering work to empower individuals to benefit their own health and the public health," said Julia Gruen, the Foundation's Executive Director. "Through education, training and advocacy, ACRIA has been at the forefront of HIV-AIDS organizations moving us toward achievable fast-track treatment and prevention goals. It is a privilege to assist ACRIA in their determined efforts to improve the lives of those affected by HIV and AIDS."
Along with monthly "HIV 101" courses such as "How to Choose the Right Doctor for You," "Understanding Your Lab Results," and "Nutrition When You're HIV-positive," our expert educators also provide one-on-one counseling for those in need of more in-depth care. We are very grateful for The Keith Haring Foundation's generous commitment to helping those with HIV not only cope with the disease, but also flourish as they learn how to manage their illness effectively and live a long, healthy life.   


ACRIA's HIV 101: Helping People Cope with an HIV Diagnosis

Imagine sitting in your doctor's office, nervously awaiting your test results. She comes in after what seems like an eternity, and she gives you the bad news. Your entire world has been turned upside down. You are HIV-positive.

How did this happen? What am I going to do? How long am I going to live? Who do I need to tell? How do I tell them? How am I ever going to date again? What will my friends and family think?    

Finding out that you have HIV can be one of the most frightening, confusing, and isolating times in a person's life. It is also a time when a newly diagnosed person must quickly understand the virus, its effect on the body, treatment options, available services and a whole host of complex issues. Although your doctor may be your primary resource for this information, his or her time to work with you is severely limited. And there are so many issues and questions that will arise that won't be able to wait for your next visit . . .  
Thanks to the generous support of The Keith Haring Foundation, ACRIA began "HIV 101" in January 2014 in response to the lack of HIV education services for the newly infected in New York City. Despite the overwhelming numbers of people with HIV in the five boroughs, no one was providing regular opportunities for people with HIV to learn about the disease. This was unacceptable. 
In the first 18 months of the program, we have helped hundreds of New Yorkers learn how to take better care of themselves and ensure that they live long, healthy lives through our monthly workshops and individual counseling. Based on these numbers and the feedback we have received, "AIDS 101" is now an essential resource for people throughout the city. 
Trying to cope with a positive diagnosis can become overwhelming. Our aim is to allay people's fears, dispel myths about HIV, and provide participants with the knowledge they need to live successfully with the disease. Our workshops encourage participants to be engaged in their HIV healthcare and services. We provide simple guidance on discussing medications with doctors, and also cover vital topics such as viral loads, CD4 counts, medication side effects, and understanding lab results. One participant emailed us after attending his first session:
"The information I received from the workshop was outstanding and lifesaving.  It helped me cope with a preliminary HIV positive test result, and provided me with real statistical data indicating that with changes in lifestyle and adherence to medication, I would likely live a long and healthy life with HIV. ACRIA connected me with many resources, including an excellent support group."  
Another participant told one of our educators that although he had been diagnosed with HIV in 2000, 95% of what he knew he learned through our workshops. Still another noted: 
"I not only felt calmer and reassured, but I also had the tools to protect myself and prevent transmission of HIV. ACRIA's staff was supportive, honest, and non-judgmental and probably the reason that I managed to cope with (and literally survive) this shocking diagnosis."  
This series of workshops - the only one of its kind in New York City - is an essential lifeline for both the newly diagnosed and those who have lived with HIV for years. As the words of our workshop participants show, the education we have provided has been key to their understanding of the disease, how to manage it, and ensuring that they remain healthy. We are committed to this work but need your help to ensure that these workshops are available for those who need them most in the coming year. Please consider a gift that will provide much-needed education to those who need it most. Together, we can make this program a permanent resource for any New Yorker who needs us in their greatest time of need. Thank you.