ACR Health celebrates 30th anniversary

ACR Health is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Syracuse. The organization, formerly known as AIDS Community Resources, helps those living with HIV and AIDS.

ACR Health Executive Director Michael Crinnin said AIDS treatments have come a long way in 30 years.

"In the early days of the agency, all our services were like acute, or for people in acute crises," explained Crinnin. "And now, that's not the case."

"People who were affected and infected were so frightened," said Michael Kyle-Ducharme, who has been active in the organization for 21 years. "It was a death sentence. Today, there's treatment. People are living longer."

The disease hits hardest among young people, particularly young African-American men between ages 15-25. Recently, ACR Health has expanded to provide services for other chronic diseases, including diabetes and drug abuse.

"If I had not received the services [of ACR Health], I probably would still be out on the street still, and/or dead at this point," said Ken Milazzo of Utica, who is receiving treatments from ACR Health for HIV and Hepatitis C. "I was very down and low, and I was homeless, just abusing drugs terribly. So without their help, I would not be here today."

The organization is optimistic AIDS treatments will make even more significant advancements in the next 30 years.

"I hope in 30 years, we don't have to worry about it anymore," said Kyle-Ducharme. "I really hope that the children that are being born today, when they're 30 years old, they don't even have to think about HIV and AIDS."