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Long-time Memphis HIV Services Provider Looks to Broaden Focus at New Building

Friends for Life changed its name to Friends for All in 2023
Katie Riordan
Friends for Life changed its name to Friends for All in 2023

The nonprofit formerly known as Friends for Life celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters on Poplar Avenue on Friday.

The organization – founded in the 1980's – has newly rebranded as Friends for All and is broadening the scope of its original mission to provide services for people living with HIV.

Just as doctors and society’s understanding of the virus has changed, CEO Diane Duke says Friends for All is adapting to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations who are at high risk of contracting HIV today.

“It’s the community health that we need to take a look at – the social drivers of health that we need to take a look at: poverty, housing insecurity, food insecurity, mental health issues,” Duke says.

Memphis has one of the highest rates of new HIV cases in the nation.

Core services at Friends for All will still focus on people living with HIV. But in their new, larger facility, the organization is offering more programs and services to those who are not HIV positive such as an expanded food pantry, cooking classes, a dance studio, access to behavioral health specialists and primary health care.

“You’re not going to be thinking about [HIV] risk factors if you’re trying to get a roof over your head. You’re not going to be thinking about that if you haven’t had a meal.” Duke says. “So these are the things we can help folks with.”

The cost of purchasing the new building and renovations cost roughly $10 million, according to Duke, and an onsite primary care clinic is expected to still open this year.

Katie is a part-time WKNO contributor. She's always eager to hear your story ideas. You can email her at kriordan@wkno.org