AIDS Project of the Ozarks (APO) began in 1983 when a group of concerned folks began meeting at a local church to discuss how to help those with AIDS who were returning home to the Springfield area to die. At that time, the group called themselves AIDS Project of Springfield. Soon, the virus made its way to people living in the area and the needs for emotional, as well as practical support grew significantly. APO incorporated in 1985 and has provided HIV care and prevention services to the 29 county Southwest Missouri region ever since. In 1991, APO was among the first agencies to receive a Ryan White HIV medical care grant from HRSA. Services provided include: primary medical care; specialty medical care; dental care; mental health and substance abuse services; nutritional counseling; case management for both infected and affected clients; adherence services; counseling and testing services; and emergency client assistance. APO has grants from the federal government (Ryan White Part C), The Missouri Department of Health Senior Services (Ryan White Part B, HIV prevention, and Syphilis prevention), Kansas City Free Health Clinic (Ryan White Part D Family Case Management), and Doorways of St. Louis (Housing for HIV positive persons).
When APO was formally established in 1985, there were two part- time employees. APO currently has 25 full-time employees and six part-time employees working at five locations throughout the area. APO serves approximately 600 HIV positive clients per year, provides HIV testing to over 700 individuals, and provides prevention materials to 10,000 people yearly.