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nounced to the crowd that any­body who needed help find­ing low-cost med­i­ca­tion, he would help them.

“Not only did he give us money, but he of­fered to as­sist them to get med­i­ca­tion that evening,” Tul­los said. “That doesn’t ever hap­pen. Not only for you to do­nate a large sum of money, but for you to of­fer peo­ple free or next-to-noth­ing med­i­ca­tion. He was say­ing to us that he tries to charge peo­ple as lit­tle or no cost as pos­si­ble for any HIV/ AIDS med­i­ca­tion. If you ac­tu­ally look at the cost of Tru­vada … it would blow your mind. It’s as­tro­nom­i­cal. That was just — you can’t match that. All the stars lined up that night. We lit­er­ally had ev­ery gen­er­a­tion of au­di­ence mem­ber that night. To have such a donor and to have every­body from dif­fer­ent age groups was in­cred­i­ble.”

In the early days, The Ar­morettes took their tips and handed them to peo­ple in need of med­i­cal care. Once it be­came a reg­is­tered non­profit, the troupe started a Peo­ple with HIV and AIDS, or PWHA fund, which serves as its char­i­ta­ble arm. The $2,698 raised on April 9 is in this fund.

Over­all, the queens raised more than $2.2 mil­lion for HIV/AIDS re­search and sup­port­ive ser­vices, Trashetta said.

“We’re here, we’re queer and we got your back,” Tul­los said. “We want peo­ple to know that at the end of the year, we’re go­ing to do­nate money and we’re go­ing to help treat as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble un­til there’s a cure.”

When­ever money is do­nated to The Ar­morettes drag troupe dur­ing their camp shows at Burkhart’s, it goes into the troupe’s PWHA — that’s Peo­ple with HIV and AIDS — fund. Tips are col­lected there through­out the year, and dis­trib­uted an­nu­ally.

In 2017, The Ar­morettes awarded their PWHA funds to five At­lanta-area or­ga­ni­za­tions. Sis­terLove and Pos­i­tive Im­pact Health Cen­ters each re­ceived $10,000. An ad­di­tional $6,000 went to Some­one Cares, Inc., which founder and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Ron­nie Bass said was used to pur­chase HIV test­ing kits, con­doms, lube, sharps boxes for bio­med­i­cal waste, per­sonal toi­letry items for home­less trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als, MARTA passes, food and hous­ing for trans per­sons. Over the past five years, The Ar­morettes do­nated more than $50,000 to this or­ga­ni­za­tion, Bass told Ge­or­gia Voice.

This year the troupe also gave to Poz Vets, which serves HIV-pos­i­tive mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, ac­tive duty ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies, as well as Em­pow­er­ment Re­sources. This group pro­vides low-cost health­care ser­vice and HIV and STD screen­ing and treat­ment.

“What I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate about The Ar­morettes is, you as a fan, when you hand that dol­lar to one of the per­form­ers, you can track where that dol­lar ends up at the end of the year,” said Kyle Tul­los, so­cial me­dia and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor. “We can say well at the be­gin­ning of 2017, we gave $10,000 to Pos­i­tive Im­pact and that pro­vides 20 peo­ple [pre-ex­po­sure pro­phy­laxis] for a whole year.”

He said Sis­terLove typ­i­cally puts its do­na­tions in clin­ics or hous­ing pro­grams.

Au­gust 4, 2017

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