History25 years of service
Like many AIDS Service Organizations, ASG began as a local response to the HIV epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, community members came together to provide volunteer-driven support to people who were often abandoned by families and friends. We did all we could to help individuals live and die in dignity. Over the past decade and a half, we have seen many changes both in the locus of the epidemic and in the available treatments. With the advent of the Ryan White program and Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) responses to the AIDS crisis, ASG began to provide professionally-staffed programs including medical case management, social services and mental health.
ASG also founded three other AIDS Service Organizations in Virginia that are still in operation today. In our history we even ran a cooperative living house for those who had no where else to go. Like many organizations in the American South, we witnessed the epidemic move beyond impacting primarily gay and bisexual men to becoming a symptom of larger social and economic disparities. As an organization we began to focus on the web of causation associated with the disease and in many ways our affirmation to serve people living with HIV regardless of ability to pay translated into serving only the most disadvantaged persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
We have in some ways returned to our roots and now have a mission more aligned to addressing the community impact of HIV and AIDS to include people living with, affected or at risk for HIV or AIDS. Our new mission hearkens back to our founding when we were less driven by federal and state policies and financial eligibility and more concerned with helping people live fully despite the impact of HIV on their lives. Our mission today is “Building Community for People Living With, Affected By or At Risk for HIV or AIDS.”