An EPIC Taking: Joy Winheim now manages the largest HIV/AIDS service provider in the Tampa Bay area as EPIC’s executive director

By : Jeremy Williams
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Sometimes being remarkable can be bittersweet. Francis House announced this year that they would be merging with AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) under the umbrella of Empath Health. This new organization, Empath Partners in Care (EPIC), would be headed by Francis House’s previous executive director Joy Winheim.

“When we were first approached [by ASAP], we thought there is no way we’re doing this, we don’t need to do it,” Winheim says. “We had plenty of grant money. We’re doing well you know, we have 800 clients. We’re not having any issues so why would we think about this.”

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A toast and a stumble through 2016, the year we will never forget

By : Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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We could go on and on about our gripes with the letter “P” this year, generally circulating around two terms: “Pulse” and “Politics.” So, indeed, that’s what we’ll do. Though we may have seen some wonderful developments in the year that God forgot, for the most part, many of us are grabbing at straws, trying to make sense of how it is that we descended so deeply, that we became the eye of the target of absolute terror.

Some may say that 2016 was the backlash for all of the gifts we were given by 2015, most notably marriage equality in both state and nation. Others might opine that there is something else going on here with the media, with conspiracies, with a new Cold War. We can’t be certain, but we certainly have each other’s backs, as has been proven by the many acts of kindness that rose up to meet the beast of an election year gone awry and a local community cut to its core. We are not a weak people; we have seen trouble before. But this year owns a special place in our hearts, one we hope that heals over without forgetting those who suffered and those who commandeered offenses that none of us could have been prepared for.

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ASAP and Francis House become EPIC, name new executive director

By : Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA – Empath Health announced Dec. 7 that the HIV service’s providers AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Francis House in Tampa will merge under the new name Empath Partners in Care, or EPIC.

EPIC will become the largest provider of HIV services in the Tampa Bay area, including case management, counseling and pharmacy services, among other programs from its five locations in the region.

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World AIDS Day reminds of what was and what can never be again

By : Billy Manes
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Thom Bland, 54, sits across the table from me at a downtown eatery. His signature shovel beard and glasses speak very much to the currency of fashion – we’re all dialing our time machines backward these days – but his cadence is certainly rooted in the trauma that brought him here. There are tears.

“I knew Patient Zero,” he only half-jokes. Bland is HIV-positive and, though his numbers may read “undetectable,” he’s fallen into the gray area – even the blackest of holes – that has picked off his friends and much of his history indiscriminately. He once woke up from anesthesia while having his lungs scrubbed for Kaposi Sarcoma. He has seen the worst. Bland was diagnosed in 1991.

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2016 World AIDS Day events round-up

By : Watermark Staff
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The 28th Annual World AIDS Day is Dec. 1. From the early morning hours of that day at the YMCA in Ocala to the not-as-early morning hours of Saturday’s AIDS Walk in St. Pete, the community will be honoring the memories and celebrating the lives of those impacted by HIV/AIDS.

World AIDS Day is held on the first of December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.

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Tampa Bay AIDS Walk & 5K Run is coming to town

By : Chelsea Santiago
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ST. PETERSBURG – It’s that time of the year again – waking up early in the morning for fun with family, close friends and a close community; and cheering for that jolly man in the red suit. A track suit, of course.

The Tampa Bay AIDS Walk & 5k Run is coming to town again Dec. 10.

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Positive Living: From Mania to Mellow Stability

By : Greg Stemm
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GregStemmHeadshotIt perhaps comes as no surprise to those of you who know me that I’m a little bit crazy.

Now, I’m not talking about let’s-go-have-a-blow out-evening crazy, I’m talking about an actual clinical diagnosis of mental health issues. Gentle reader, we’ve shared some pretty intimate details of my life together so it is important for me to be forthright with you about these issues. It’s why I’m urging you from a very personal perspective to vote “yes” on Amendment 2 on November 8.

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ASAP, Francis House merger makes Empath Health largest HIV/AIDS services provider in Tampa Bay

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST PETERSBURG – Empath Health announced that AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Hillsborough County’s Francis House will merge in order to expand the HIV/AIDS services available to the Tampa Bay region.

The two non-profits signed an initial memorandum of understanding and will operate under a newly-named member of Empath Health.

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Tampa Bay HIV/AIDS service organizations ASAP, Francis House to merge

By : Jeremy Williams
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Empath Health announced that AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Hillsborough County’s Francis House will merge in order to expand the HIV/AIDS services available to the Tampa Bay region.

The two non-profits signed an initial Memorandum of Understanding and will operate under a newly-named member of Empath Health.

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Executive director William Harper steps down after 20 years with AIDS Service Association of Pinellas

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Petersburg – William Harper of AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) will be stepping down as executive director as he approaches 20 years with the organization.

Harper, who started with ASAP in May 1996, says that it has been a great opportunity for him to work for such an amazing organization, but that after two decades, it is time to move on.

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Tampa Bay AIDS Walk and Fun Run has big turn out

By : Jeremy Williams
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AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Empath Health hosted the 12th annual AIDS Walk Tampa Bay at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg Dec. 12.

More than 1,000 people participated in the walk, which began with a new Fun Run. Early reports from ASAP say they raised $135,000 and with  donations still coming in that number will climb.

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Issue 22.25: Prevention = Complacence?

By : Jake Stevens
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Prevention = Complacence? As World AIDS Day approaches, philanthropic organizations adjust to changing times and perceptions in the world of HIV, gay history for kids, gay history for comedians, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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