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The Schuylkill County woman was distraught when she reached out to a hospital social worker in 1985.Her son was suffering from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, and was coming home to die. She didn’t know where to turn for information, support or care.The social worker linked the woman with a variety of people and resources in the greater Reading area, leading to the formation of Co-County Wellness Services.
The nonprofit works to improve public health in Berks and Schuylkill counties.The county signed a one-year, $1 million contract with CCWS in June to operate a coronavirus contact-tracing program.The story of its humble beginning is often recounted by the staff and board of directors of CCWS. Begun as AIDS Service Organization, the agency celebrated its 35th anniversary Tuesday on World AIDS Day with a virtual toast and program.This year’s theme, Communities Make The Difference Think Globally, Act Locally, aligns well with CCWS’ vision for the community, said Carolyn M. Bazik, executive director of CCWS.
“Though COVID-19 has been a challenge,” Bazik said, “Co-County Wellness Services remains committed to optimal health for our evolving community by living our mission.”Since the first AIDS cases in the U.S. were reported in 1981, Bazik said, nearly 40 million people worldwide have died of AIDS-related illnesses. Another 38 million globally are living with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, she said.The organization continues to focus on services that help prevent AIDS and care for those …
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