Reaching Further: ACRIA
On January 1, 2002, the Community Research Initiative on AIDS (CRIA) officially became the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA). We made this move to reflect the agency's current activities as a national HIV/AIDS clinical research and treatment education organization.
CRIA was founded on December 12, 1991. Now that our 10th anniversary is behind us, we have a sufficiently broad perspective to consider how the agency has changed over the past decade to meet a continually shifting HIV epidemic in the United States. Tremendous advances in HIV care have been realized since 1991, some of which have resulted from the trials we've conducted at our clinic and in partnership with other researchers. We've modified our research agenda substantially to include the types of studies that are necessary to improve healthcare in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
We've also seen the populations impacted by this disease shift dramatically since our early years of operation. In 1991, AIDS was characterized as a disease primarily affecting gay white men. Today, the epidemic is most deeply affecting women and people of color, many of whom experience rapid deterioration from AIDS related illness for complex reasons, including poverty, insufficient access to care and treatment, and other cultural and socioeconomic barriers. ACRIA is deeply committed to providing education about important healthcare issues to all populations, offering information to help people advocate for themselves and realize the full benefits of HIV treatment and care. Since the creation of our Treatment Education Program in 1997, this agency has become one of the largest providers of consumer-focused HIV health information in the United States. In fact, ACRIA's activities in both clinical research and treatment education are now largely national in scope -- whereas we were primarily NYC-oriented in our early years.
So, in anticipation of our 10th anniversary, the agency's Board of Directors decided to make an important symbolic change by adopting a new name that reflects our growth and development. ACRIA will be fundamentally the same entity as CRIA was, with the same awareness that, to be effective, we must adapt to the changing needs and priorities of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWAs) across the United States.
CRIA Update represented our first foray into the treatment education arena, followed by many other services designed to provide more direct education and counseling to HIV-positive individuals. Now, this newsletter again allows us an opportunity to let the national PLWA community understand how we plan to move forward to better support people's needs. CRIA Update has become ACRIA Update. Although it has a new look, the basic format and focus of the newsletter remain the same -- to offer clear, practical discussions of HIV treatment issues that are important to a broad audience. Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year.
This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication ACRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.