Arizona's longest-serving HIV/AIDS organization to close in March due to lack of funding

The longest-serving HIV/AIDS organization in Arizona will soon close its doors.

The non-profit Phoenix Shanti Group, which began in 1987, has served thousands of people over the years. Unfortunately, because of a lack of funding, the organization will officially close at the end of March. 

"It became clear last year that the small, intensive services that we provided with housing and treatment was not going to be a sustainable model financially for us," said Phoenix Shanti Group CEO Keith Thompson.

The nonprofit started as a hospice facility in the 80s, at the height of the AIDS Epidemic. Since then, it grew significantly, and currently provides housing, counseling, drug rehabilitation, and mental health counseling.

The organization serves about 100 people annually. 

"Many of them would be involved with us for two to three years. Many of the folks over the years that have come to us, meth use and other drugs abuses is a big issue for them, and we know recovery from substance abuse is not just a one time 30-day thing," said Thompson.

Although this is an unfortunate situation, Thompson says he's sure state and other local programs will step in and help their clients. He is also hopeful for a future without HIV. 

"The HIV Epidemic, there are now steps being taken to end it within 10 years. The new medications people have, there's going to be more testing available and people staying in their medical care. If all of that happens this can end."    

Shanti has been in the transition phase since 2019, and has been helping clients find other resources. The organization also has a thrift store, but what to do with that is still being decided.