Oklahoma AIDS groups merge services
Oklahoma nonprofit AIDS organizations Regional AIDS Interfaith Network and CarePoint--the state's largest provider of AIDS services--have merged to make better use of public and private fund-raising efforts by the groups, the Daily Oklahoman reports. The combined agency will be called the Regional AIDS Intercommunity Network--RAIN-OK--and will continue to employ the 22 people who worked at each agency before the merger. CarePoint offers HIV antibody testing, education, case management, nutrition, housing, and employment assistance to HIV-positive people and their families through a $1.5 million annual budget, most of which comes from federal and state AIDS grants. RAIN offers a variety of nonmedical services through its $300,000 annual budget that comes primarily through private donations. "It's been more challenging year by year to gain at least a stable source of funding, so putting those sources [public and private] together makes us a stronger, more effective organization," Heidi Ruister, CarePoint's executive director, told the Daily Oklahoman. The newly combined agency will operate out of Oklahoma City.