Access Care of Coastal Texas (ACCT) is inviting you to “A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea,” which is our annual champagne brunch fundraiser. Festivities will be from noon to 3 p.m. May 19 at the Galveston Island Convention Center at 5600 Seawall Blvd. in Galveston. There will be a fabulous brunch, lively entertainment, a grand raffle prize, and great silent auction.

You can greet old friends, make new acquaintances, and know that proceeds from this annual fundraiser benefit ACCT clients — newly diagnosed, living and/or aging with HIV — have essential day-to-day needs that aren’t covered by federal, state or local programs or grants. It’s only through the continuing support and generosity of our annual brunch enthusiasts (sponsors, individual/business donors and guests) that ACCT provides additional services that meet client needs, such as the food pantry, nutritional supplements program, support groups, health education, and the weekly hot lunch program.

For those of you who are new to the area, or unfamiliar with ACCT, we were founded in Galveston over 30 years ago by a group of concerned and caring clinicians and community members in response to the AIDS epidemic. ACCT continues in its mission to provide compassionate community-based support services and access to care for persons with HIV and offer HIV/AIDS awareness/education and prevention programs to the Galveston area.

If you’ve driven by 23rd and Winnie streets in Galveston, you may have noticed a building with our distinctive ACCT logo. It’s here where we offer free anonymous HIV testing daily and support services for clients, including a weekly hot lunch and educational community outreach programs including free monthly HIV testing at local bars and risk reduction/condom distribution at local colleges. ACCT is proud to be a University of Texas Medical Branch nursing program clinical site, providing opportunities for nursing students to have hands-on experience in the HIV/AIDS community services arena.

Brunch tickets are $70 in advance or $85 at the door. Raffle tickets (you need not be present to win) and sponsorships also are available. For tickets or more information, visit accttexas.org or call 409-763-2437.

If you or someone you know have questions or concerns about HIV, ACCT can provide free confidential testing and arrange for care and treatment to control this deadly virus. There isn’t a cure for HIV, but with compliance with a health care professional’s treatment plan, it’s controllable. ACCT is here to help.

We’re open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon Fridays at 707 23rd St. in Galveston.

Mark L. White is the executive director of Access Care of Coastal Texas in Galveston.

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