History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Organizations

Brady East STD Clinic (BESTD Clinic) - Timeline & Gallery

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Timeline: (Click on any year to view the Image Gallery for that year)

1974 - GPU opens "VD Examination Center" at 225 E. St. Paul. (October)
1975 - VD Clinic moves with the GPU to 1568 N. Farwell, called "The Farwell Center" (July)
1976 -
1977 -
1978 -
1979 -
1980 -
1981 - Clinic moved to 2578 N. Booth St.
        - First reports of a new disease amoung gay men. This would eventually become known as the AIDS epidemic.
1982 - Clinic moves to 1240 E. Brady St. (where it still is today), and is formally renamed the Brady East STD Clinic (July)
1983 -

1984 - 10th ANNIVERSARY
        - BESTD Clinic forms the Milwaukee AIDS Committee, later called the Milwaukee AIDS Project (MAP) to address the newly named AIDS disease
           formerly known as GRID, Gay related immunodeficiency disease (aka gay pneumonia)
1985 - First HIV/AIDS Support group formed at BESTD and meets on Sunday evenings at the Clinic. Gregg Mulry, (now Ph..D) was the facilitator for many years.
        - FDA approves the first AIDS antibody screening tests.
1986 - BESTD Board spins off the Milwaukee AIDS Project to the newly formed ARCW as its parent corporation.
           Sue Dietz, RN, a BESTD volunteer becomes the first Executive Director of the Milwaukee AIDS Project.
           Ben Johnson, a BESTD volunteer who later died of AIDS, becomes the first MAP AIDS educator. BESTD is given one seat on ARCW Board.
        - Organization gradually embracees use of "BESTD" acronym rather than "B.E.S.T. Clinic" or "BEST Clinic".
1987 -
1988 - Clinic cooperates with Milwaukee Health Dept to do HIV and TB testing at Club Baths. Eventually the City shut down the Club Baths.
1989 - Roger deeds Brady Street building to BESTD and BESTD assumes the mortgage.
1990 - ARCW Board rescinds the provision for BESTD's dedicated seat on ARCW Board.
1991 - BESTD pays off building's mortgage.
        - Clinic reaches peak of HIV testing with Magic Johnson's revelation he has HIV. At the peak, testing 4 nights a week plus outreaches,
           making appointments two weeks in advance. Testing hit 6,000 in the year, with positives running 60-70 per year.
        - Began early intervention program (in conjunction with STD Specialties Clinic) including physical, mental, AODA and spiritual screening and treatments,
           with 6 different support groups running.
1992 - Clinic open 5 days a week: Monday and Wednesday for HIV; Tuesdays HIV and STD; Thursday evening and Saturday am - Women's Clinics;
       - Clinic serving over 10,000 clients per year (combination of STD and HIV) on a $50,000 budget
1993 - Rehabilitation of building begins with new roof.

1994 - 20th ANNIVERSARY
        - BESTD Clinic Live began airing on Cable: a half hour show running live weekly from Time Warner Studios and re-aired twice per week.
        - Major rehabilitation of inside and outside of bldg. is completed with costs borne by BESTD and supplemented by an outside grant; Clinic is debt free.
1995 -
1996 -
1997 -
1998 -
1999 - BESTD reaches peak of outreach testing sites and dates
2000 -
2001 - Ross Walker retires as President; Kevin Lynch elected new President
2002 -
2003 - BESTD first in country to do mass Rapid HIV testing, at PrideFest

2004 - 30th ANNIVERSARY
2005 -
2006 -
2007 -
2008 -
2009 - New Board of Directors, John George elected new President
2010 -
2011 -
2012 -
2013 - Building housing the Clinic is officially renamed the Dr. Roger Gremminger Building
2014 - 40th ANNIVERSARY
        - Clinic hits milestone of having served over 20,000 individuals for STD testing alone (many with multiple visits over the clinic's 40 years),
           plus many thousands more during its 25+ years of HIV testing.



General Recollections

- Almost every gay bar had benefits for us - all unsolicited. We were also big recipients of the annual "Possum Queen Contest".

- Thanksgiving MilMad Bowling almost every other year for a long time. The old Boot Camp was a regular supporter and contributor.. Bob Schmidt at M&M provided all of the food for our Symphonys rehearsal which we held at the First Unitarian Church, which they provided. Bob also provided an after show party for the principal soloists, conductor and some of the clinic volunteers after the Pabst performance.

- The Faye McBeth Foundation provided funding for our 1994 renovation, so we came out of it debt free.

- Mimma had a $100 plate dinner for folks who were going to the Symphony - she provided a bus to the Pabst.

- Outreaches in the early days were something. We had to take a centrifuge with us (a big old clunker) to spin each specimen as it was drawn. Clients had to come to the Clinic in two weeks. After each Pridefest we had results appts scheduled on multiple days in both afternoons and evenings. Ross and I spent all day Monday at home bubbling forms from the weekend's Pridefest tests. We were so busy, the counselors filled in only the basics and we did the rest from the questionaires.

- We did regular testing at UWM Student Union for awhile. Also at Marquette, MSOE, Alverno, Rufus King High School, among others.

- Women's clinic was started on Saturday mornings by Jamakaya and another woman. It was run pretty erratically and sometimes on Saturdays volunteers didn't show up and it wasn't open. A couple of men got involved and it was moved to Thursdays (every other) and run entirely by women, except for HIV. It was staffed by two providers, lab and intake. Gradually, volunteers started to leave and we had trouble recruiting women. Casey from STD Specialties did some of the clinics as provider. Eventually we had to close it because of lack of staff.

- For years, we were reimbursed at $20 per HIV test and result given. When the State starting going to contracts, they set a minimum annual test quantity of 1000+ to get reimbursed on a per test basis. That covered us just fine as we were always well over that. It is only recently that the Clinic was in a contractual basis. Unfortunately, they keep cutting the annual reimbursement.

- At one point, BESTD was offered a $40,000 annual contract to do OTR testing at the bars, etc. That would have involved a payroll, unemployment comp, etc and the Board turned it down. The decision was made to remain an all-volunteer agency. We had two Clinic Managers "employed on a small stipend to do the day to day routine tasks. Both turned out to be disasters and we scuttled that idea for good and forever.

- During their active years at the Clinic, and especially during the 11 years that Ross was President, founding fathers Erv and Ross each put in about 60 hours a week as volunteers. When they decided to "retire", Jeff Miller facilitated a Board brain storming session. They set up a two year period to begin transitioning to divest their tasks to others. A committee was set up, with Jeff Miller as chair, to search for a new President. A young volunteer named Kevin Lynch was approached and talked into taking on the Presidency, which he did to notable success. For the past 13 years, there have been only three presidents.



View Articles, Ads, etc. from:
- 1974-1994
- 1995-2014


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Credits: page design and format by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: May-2014.