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 Welcomes New Board Leadership

ACRIA is thrilled to welcome three new members to our Board of Directors.

Robert L. Tucker is the founding partner of Tucker & Latifi, LLP, a boutique intellectual property law firm in New York City specializing in representing clients in the fashion and consumer goods fields worldwide in connection with the protection, enforcement, and licensing of their trademarks and designs. Robert has been practicing law for 32 years. He was previously an engineer for Ford Motor Company.  
Robert has two children--a daughter in college and a son in high school.  He lives in New York City and Shelter Island.

Dini von Mueffling is the founder and principal of Dini von Mueffling Communications, a public relations firm in her native New York City. DVMC works with clients in fields including technology, health, media, business, real estate, design, art and non-profits, as well as representing high profile individuals. Dini has expertise in launching companies and individuals, reputation and crisis management, media strategy and event execution. She is also the co-founder of Love Heals: The Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education. Prior to working in public relations, Dini was a journalist and is the author of two non-fiction books.  

As a Partner and Chair of the Leveraged Finance Group at Kramer, Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, Richard E. Farley advises and represents some of the world's leading commercial and investment banks in sophisticated and complex domestic and international financing transactions, in particular leveraged buyout financings, recapitalizations and refinancings. Richard's work on behalf of these clients includes syndicated financing transactions and private placements, acquisition financing, asset-based financing, first and second lien debt transactions, high-yield debt issuances, loan assignments and participations, and project finance. 

Richard is the author of Wall Street Wars: The Epic Battles with Washington that Created the Modern Financial System, a book on the creation of modern financial regulation during President Franklin Roosevelt's first term of office. In 2012, he received Bloomberg BNA's Burton Award for Legal Achievement, Best Law Firm Writers.

"We are delighted to welcome Robert, Dini, and Richard to ACRIA," said Stewart Shining, President of the Board of Directors. "As we expand our work to meet the challenge of rising infection rates, their expertise will bolster our lifesaving programs, including HIV education for at-risk youth and groundbreaking research on long-term survivors of the epidemic. We look forward to their leadership at this critical time in the fight against AIDS." 

The Legendary Dionne Warwick joins ACRIA as our Goodwill Ambassador

We are delighted to announce that legendary entertainer, Dionne Warwick, has partnered with ACRIA to increase public awareness about the devastating impact of HIV on people over 50, especially African American women. Her public service announcements (PSAs) bring a new and important focus on women and HIV, the use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and older adults and HIV.

Ms. Warwick has been a leader in the fight against HIV for 30 years and was among the first celebrities to publicly announce her support for efforts to combat the disease. Her PSAs for ACRIAcoincide with Women's History Month and the annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

"Through the release of these PSAs, I am honored to join forces with ACRIA and thousands of fellow AIDS activists across the country who are renewing efforts to raise awareness, develop public policies, and target funding to support HIV prevention, treatment and care," said Ms. Warwick. "Despite great progress in scientific research and prevention, HIV continues to exact a heavy toll on communities of color, including adults over the age of 50 and African American women, who are too often forgotten in this epidemic."

"We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Warwick as ACRIA's Goodwill Ambassador and recognize her steadfast leadership in the fight against HIV," said Benjamin Bashein, Executive Director. "Ms. Warwick embraced HIV/AIDS activism at a time when stigma against the disease was at its worst, when most public figures refused to associate their names and celebrity with the cause. We are truly excited about her participation in our work to educate millions of Americans, anew, about HIV, and by so doing, prevent its transmission."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2 million Americans are estimated to be living with HIV as of 2015, and 50% are estimated to be over the age of 50. By 2020, that number will rise to 70%. Although many older adults do not believe that they are susceptible to HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection, one in six new cases of HIV infection occurs in people over 50 years old. Older adults are also less likely to get tested for HIV.

In addition, women account for almost 20% of the estimated 45,000 new HIV infections that occur each year in the U.S. Among all women diagnosed with HIV in 2014, an estimated 62% were African American women.

ACRIA Welcomes New Board and National Advisory Council Leadership

ACRIA is thrilled to welcome new members to our Board of Directors and National Advisory Council.

Michael Lorber has been elected to our Board of Directors. He grew up on Long Island's South Shore, and graduated from Babson College in Wellesley, MA with a BS in Real Estate and Finance. He furthered his education with a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and earned a Master's degree in Real Estate from New York University. As an attorney who procured hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate transactions, he felt compelled to pursue his true calling and joined Douglas Elliman Real Estate in 2006, where he has since been a top real estate broker.

Outside of work, Michael serves as a director on the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Leadership Council, as well as the Tubman Center at the Harvard-Kennedy School of Government. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of both the Children's Hospital Boston and The New England Aquarium. Additionally, he is a Trustee of Babson College. Michael is an avid outdoorsman, backgammon player, collector of art, watches and rare books, boater, and dog lover. He divides his time between Manhattan, Palm Beach, and Sag Harbor.

Jonathan Mallow has also joined our Board of Directors. He is Senior Vice President of Connected Content at VH1 and Logo, supervising strategy and content platforms including mobile, apps and social media. He has worked at Viacom for most of the last ten years in various roles across MTV, Logo and VH1. In 2015, he took a brief hiatus from Viacom to run the digital department at World of Wonder, the production company responsible for RuPaul's Drag Race and the WOWPresents YouTube Channel.

He has a BA in Literature from Yale University and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University. He has previously served on the board of the Ali Forney Center, where he led the board's fundraising committee as well as chairing an annual cocktail party for five years. Jon lives in New York with his dog Hillary.

Stefani Greenfield has been appointed to ACRIA's National Advisory Council. She co-founded the internationally acclaimed SCOOP NYC stores and is credited for pioneering a new way for consumers to shop with her trailblazing merchandising concept - The Ultimate Closet. After selling SCOOP in 2008, Greenfield created and still currently hosts the first ever fashion/lifestyle show on HSN, Curations Caravan. Greenfield was a judge on Bravo's Launch My Line, appeared in a monthly segment, Fashion Roadmap on TODAY, and hosted Unracked with Gilt Groupe, an innovative web series of interviews with fashion luminaries and legends. Greenfield served as the Chief Creative Officer of The Jones Group for two years, leading design, merchandising and marketing of their portfolio of brands.

In 2013 Stefani founded MY NEXT ACT, a global consulting agency focused on the creation, ideation and storytelling of brands. With Project Runway creator Desiree Gruber, Greenfield launched the accessory brand Theodora & Callum. Additionally, she was the Creative Brand Director on the E! docu-series House of DVF. Greenfield was a Co-founder of Love Heals: The Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education, and is a Board Member of GOOD+ Foundation.

"We are thrilled to welcome Michael, Jon, and Stefani to ACRIA," said Stewart Shining, President of the Board of Directors. "Each has demonstrated a deep commitment to the fight against HIV at a time when many believe the crisis to be over. Unfortunately, ACRIA continues to see first-hand the devastating effect HIV has on vulnerable communities across the country. We look forward to their leadership as we continue our innovative work that is helping end this epidemic once and for all." 

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.

A Tribute to Gina Quattrocchi

ACRIA joins our fellow not-for-profits, advocates and activists in the AIDS community in mourning the loss of a beloved friend and brave warrior in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS, the late Gina Quattrocchi. For 25 years, Gina was a driving force behind the creation of public policies, funding and programs that address HIV testing, prevention, and care both here in the United States and abroad. As Executive Director of Bailey House, Gina was a strong advocate for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS, women, and communities of color.  To the board of directors, staff , and clients of Bailey House, we extend our heartfelt condolences.  Gina will be sorely missed.



To The ACRIA Family:

I am pleased to announce that at its most recent meeting, the ACRIA Board of Directors voted unanimously to acquire an organization called Love Heals: The Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education.

We have long admired the work of Love Heals, the largest provider of HIV prevention and sexual education to young people in New York City schools.

The origin story of Love Heals is a tragic and powerful one. Alison Gertz was infected with HIV through a single sexual encounter at age 16 and died in 1992. Love Heals is Ali's legacy, founded by her three best friends.

Love Heals has reached over 630,000 young people through its education and prevention programs. ACRIA is honored and excited to play a role in growing and expanding Ali's legacy. We are confident that our work will be greater than the sum of its parts. With our core competencies, our national and international reach, and our research capacity, we offer Love Heals the opportunity to enhance and expand its work, perhaps even outside of New York City.

ACRIA will be joined by all members of the Love Heals staff and a number of outstanding board members. Everything about this new relationship has felt smart and has moved in good faith and enthusiasm about what we will be able to do together. Strategic, seamless acquisitions are not common in the nonprofit sector; we plan to be a model others can follow.

The work of the epidemic has and will continue to evolve. So too will ACRIA. The addition of Love Heals allows ACRIA to fill gaps in prevention strategies and provide a greater compliment of programs and services to people of all ages with lifesaving HIV prevention and health education.

We look forward to telling you more about the Love Heals program and will be sharing news in the days and weeks to come about new staff, new board members, and our specific plans for the future.


Benjamin Bashein

Executive Director


3rd Annual Conference on HIV & Aging

Ending the AIDS Epidemic for Older Adults In New York State

Monday, March 28, 2016,  8:00 am – 4:00 pm
New York University Kimmel Center, Eisner & Lubin Auditorium - 4th Fl
60 Washington Sq. South
New York, NY 10012


Demetre C. Daskalakis, MD
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control

Daniel O’Connell
Director, NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute

Nursing CE Credits provided - the NYU College of Nursing, Center for Continuing Education in Nursing is accredited as a provider of Continuing Nursing Education by The American Nurses’ Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation

For more information, contact:

Liz Seidel:

Sponsored by:


Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nurses, New York University College of Nursing

Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR)

 This program was partially funded by the New York City Council


Dean Eileen Sullivan-Mark,  NYU College of Nursing

Introduction and Overview
Dr. Mark Brennan-Ing, ACRIA and NYU College of Nursing

Keynote: Ending the Epidemic(ETE) Overview
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Assistant Commissioner NYC DOHMH, Bureau of HIV Prevention and Control

Panel: Consumer Prospective on the ETE Initiative
Moderator: Danielle C. Ompad, CDHUR, New York University. Michelle Lopez, Connie Dukes, Fernando Ferrer

Sexual Health, Histories and HIV/STI Testing in Clinical Settings
Dr. Barrie Raik, Cornell Weill Medical Center and Dr. Debbie Greenberg, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

HIV/STI Prevention Issues Facing Older Adults: PrEP, PEP and Condoms
Dr. Tonya Taylor, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

HIV/STI Social Messaging Targeting Older Adult
Sammy Jurardo, Director at SJ Coaching Network

Multimorbitity in Older Adults with HIV
Dr. Jeffrey Kwong, Columbia University School of Nursing

Infusing Geriatric Care Principles into Care of the Aging Patient with HIV 
Dr. Harjot Singh, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Center for Special Studies (HIV/AIDS)

Policy Initiatives Addressing Older Adults in Ending the Epidemic
Dan O’Connell, NYS DOH AIDS Institute

Engaging the Community in Ending the Epidemic
Christy Jared, MS, RN, HIGN NYU College of Nursing: Jeff Rindler, The GMHC Buddy Program; Tom Weber, SAGE Programs for Older Adults with HIV; Dr. Elizabeth Figueroa, ACRIA’s Telephone Support Intervention for Depression

Closing: The Context of Ending the Epidemic: Age Makes a Difference!
Joseph Lunievicz, Deputy Executive Director for Programs, ACRIA

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.