Founded in 1988, the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta is one of Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating HIV/AIDS service organizations.
The agency learned in mid-September it would be forced from its home on Ponce de Leon Avenue after its building was purchased by a real estate developer who planned to build new residential properties.
The move to ARCA’s new location at 440 Ralph McGill Blvd. has been challenging, Dr. Melanie Thompson, ARCA executive director, told GA Voice.
“We were given about eight weeks, but it took us a long time to find a place where we wanted to live, given all the different constraints,” Thompson said. “We had been in our old place 22 years. You can imagine how much stuff accumulates over 22 years.”
The AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta is being forced out of its office space on Ponce de Leon Avenue after the facility it has rented for 22 years was sold to real estate developers, the organization recently announced via its Facebook page.
ARCA, founded in 1988, focuses on HIV treatment and prevention research, as well as free HIV/STD testing services. Thousands of Atlantans have participated in more than 75 trials at ARCA, according to its website. “Our trials have contributed to the licensing by the FDA of 25 HIV/AIDS therapies that have been responsible for a dramatic increase in the length and quality of life for persons with HIV,” the agency states.
ARCA's currently facilities are located at 131 Ponce de Leon Ave., NE, between Ponce and North Avenue. The organization has been given until Oct. 22 to vacate the current space and needs some $10,000 to make the move happen, the group announced.
GeoVax Labs, an Atlanta-based biotechnology company, today announced a major milestone in its quest to eliminate the HIV virus, as the first patient has been inoculated with the company's HIV/AIDS vaccine following success in post-vaccine viral control in primates.
The company's vaccine is aimed at stimulating the body's immune system to resist the spread of infection.
"Dosing the first study participant marks a major milestone for our Phase 1/2 clinical trial. We are pleased to have the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, the Alabama Vaccine Research Center at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and the AIDS Research Alliance of Los Angeles participating in the trial,” said Robert McNally, president and CEO of GeoVax Labs, in a prepared statement.
“These three trial sites are actively seeking persons who are interested in and fit the criteria for the study," McNally added.
The AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta is one of the leading HIV/AIDS research facilities in the nation and is at the forefront of conducting clinical drug trials in the treatment and prevention of the disease.
Dr. Melanie Thompson, ARCA’s founder and principal investigator, says the nonprofit is currently undertaking new studies, including research on drugs not licensed yet for HIV, a drug for lowering cholesterol for those with HIV, a Hepatitis C study and a new research program set to be rolled out soon for African-American men who have sex with men. Another study deals with a single pill that combines three drugs for those who have never taken HIV medicines.
ARCA was also selected last year as the only site for the first therapeutic trial ever conducted using an HIV vaccine candidate from GeoVax. GeoVax vaccines are being studied for HIV prevention, but ARCA is the only facility using the same products for treatment of HIV positive people.