AIDS Healthcare Foundation holds ribbon-cutting for new HIV clin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

AIDS Healthcare Foundation holds ribbon-cutting for new HIV clinic, pharmacy in Austin

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AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) -- It was April and the number of HIV cases was quickly growing when Austin Mayor Douglas Campbell says he reached out to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  

"I asked, 'Would you please come and take a look at Austin? Would you send someone here? Just come and look at us. Can you help us in any way shape or form?'" Campbell explained. 

AHF has now been helping in Scott County for several months and working with the small city's only doctor, William Cooke. 

Dr. Cooke says 80 to 90 of his patients have HIV. 

"The commitment that AHF has made is that they're gonna allow us to have all the resources we need to treat HIV here regardless of ability to pay, which is pretty amazing," Cooke said. 

Wednesday, the organization revealed it's newly renovated clinic and pharmacy during a ribbon cutting. It's connected to Cooke's practice, Foundations Family Medicine, on West Main Street. 

We're told the pharmacy will provide medications for HIV and Hepatitis C. Doctors say just 12 weeks of treatment for Hepatitis C can cost nearly $100,000. 

"Regardless what the patient's insurance issue is, they're gonna have their medicine. That was really important for us," Cooke told WDRB News.  

AHF says it has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Austin community. 

"Our organization started as the AIDS Hospice Foundation in 1987," AHF President Michael Weinstein said. "All we could do was give people a dignified death so the idea that today were keeping 500,000 people alive and well is beyond my wildest expectations." 

Weinstein was given a key to the city as well as proclamation from the state Wednesday. 

He says AHS will be in Austin for as long as the organization can help. 

Health officials say more than 180 people have tested positive for HIV in connection to the outbreak. 

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