INDIANAPOLIS — The Damien Center is expanding its facilities with the goal of supporting more people living with AIDS in Central Indiana.
In 2022, the Damien Center served 6,500 unique clients. Before the pandemic, President and CEO Alan Witchey says that number was around 3,000.
"With the new building, we will probably be able to serve around 10,000 people," Witchey said. "This will be an amazing change for the near eastside."
The new facility will include a larger Damien Cares clinic with multiple exam rooms, new dental and vision services, a lab, and an expanded food pantry and pharmacy.
They also plan to expand their current programs and introduce up to 10 new programs and services with the additional square footage.
The new three story building will be located at East Washington St. and Oriental Ave., which is adjacent to the Center's current building at 26 N. Arsenal. The Center's Meridian Street building, which mostly houses administrative employees, will continue to be open.
"The Damien Center has a long-standing history of working for [those with] HIV in Marion County unlike anything we've seen across this country," Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said. "It was quick to react to the HIV epidemic when no one else would."
Olympic gold medalist diver Greg Louganis is auctioning off three of his Olympic medals to help finance the facility's welcome center, which will be named in memory of Ryan White. Louganis has been living with HIV/AIDS for more than 35 years and visited the Damien Center last year.
He will also donate a sculpture of White to the Center. The auction is open through March 31.
“The day we unveil the Welcome Center to honor Ryan White, my friend, will mark one of the most important milestones in my life,” Louganis said. "He was my inspiration after I hit my head on the diving board in '88 ...
For more information on the Damien Center or to be connected to resources, click here.
The project is expected to be done by the end of 2024.