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RAIN empowers persons living with HIV and those at risk to be healthy and stigma free. RAIN envisions ending HIV in our community.
RAIN has served thousands of individuals in the Charlotte metropolitan area since 1992. We are known for providing services with integrity and compassion and for quality outcomes in HIV services. Our staff has extensive experience assisting clients with access to medical care and medications, emergency assistance – including rent, utilities, and food - and other issues impacting health and quality of life. One of our primary referral sources is existing and past clients, which is a testimony to the trust we have established in the community.
RAIN serves youth (from age 13) and adults living with HIV and those at risk. We seek to reduce HIV stigma in the community through education and advocacy and to empower clients to recognize and combat HIV stigma when they face it. All services are available in person, via telehealth, and in English and Spanish.
RAIN advocates for all people living with HIV regardless of race, gender, immigration status, and sexual orientation.
Our work inspires and empowers people to live fully, opens more minds, and helps break stigma of HIV.
To end HIV in our community and we have the tools to end it!
The Centers for Disease Control says that if a person is living with HIV is virally suppressed or undetected – meaning that the virus is so low in the blood that it cannot be detected – that person cannot transmit HIV to another. The CDC’s promotional program for this is called U=U: Undetectable = Untransmittable. Current medications are highly effective at depressing HIV in the body. Just one pill a day can accomplish viral suppression. RAIN is working tirelessly to find individuals who are living with HIV who don’t know their status, engage them in medical care, and taking their medications daily.
With the introduction of medical technologies – like PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) in the past decade, we have the tools to end the spread of HIV. Just one pill a day taken by individuals at risk for exposure to HIV dramatically reduces the risk that the individual will contract the virus. Medications, combined with condom use, nearly eliminate the possibility of getting HIV. RAIN is diligently seeking to connect persons at risk for exposure to HIV to medical care and using these prevention strategies.
Of course, there are important programs and services that must accompany these strategies to fully end HIV in our community.
HIV/STI testing is the first step in RAIN’s programs to end HIV. RAIN provides many testing opportunities in the community.
Reaching the right people. RAIN’s outreach strategies go into areas of the community with the highest rates of HIV.
Support Services. RAIN provides medical case management, peer navigation, PrEP/PEP cases management, mental health counseling, substance use services, health insurance enrollment, and emergency assistance for housing, utilities, and food.
Rev. Debbie Warren and a group of committed volunteers seeked a way to engage the faith community in meeting the challenges of HIV/AIDS prevention and end of life care; RAIN was birthed out of this commitment and was founded RAIN in 1992. This early, ecumenical response of volunteers staff helped to frame the community’s dialogue about HIV/AIDS, replacing judgment with understanding, prejudice with compassion and ignorance with knowledge.
With the advent of antiretroviral therapies, RAIN transitioned from providing end-of-life care to meeting client needs of treatment education, access to medical care and medications, and emergency assistance which impact health and quality of life. Staff members provide services to clients with integrity and compassion. RAIN is known for quality outcomes in HIV services and has received recognition from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ford Foundation and the state of North Carolina HIV/STD Care Branch. RAIN’s work has been featured on the CBS Evening News, NC public television and in two national HIV/AIDS magazines, HIV Plus and A and U. In 2016, POZ – an award-winning online and print resource for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS - selected four RAIN staff members for the annual POZ 100, a special recognition of the contributions of individuals living and working in the South who are committed to ending the HIV epidemic.
After 30 years of service, Debbie Warren retired in 2021 and Chelsea Gulden, MSW, was promoted to President and CEO that same year. In her prior role, Chelsea led the agency’s client programs for over ten years and has nearly two decades of experience in the field. She is well-respected for her expertise locally and nationwide. Chelsea has presented at national conferences and published through her role in research.