The History of BESTD

 

 

The BESTD story is a long history of volunteers providing healthcare services to greater Milwaukee.  In the early 1970's, a group of concerned and caring people responded to the rising incidences of sexually transmitted diseases in Milwaukee and the lack of sensitive, accessible resources.  Their discussions and encouragement from the Milwaukee Health Department and the Wisconsin Division of Health resulted in the founding of the BESTD Clinic (then known as the Gay People's Union Venereal Disease Clinic - GPU VD Clinic) in October 1974.

 

Located initially in rented quarters on East St. Paul, in what is now the Third Ward Cafe, and then on Farwell Avenue, the Brady East STD Clinic, Inc., moved to its present facility in 1981.  In 1990, Dr. Roger Gremminger, a physician volunteer, board member and building owner, gifted his property equity to BESTD.  Off-street parking adjacent to the Clinic was made available in 1996 and is available with the cooperation of our good neighbors at Mimma's Cafe.

 

While traditionally focusing on the diagnosis, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, BESTD, because of its entirely volunteer staff, has been flexible and swift to respond to new challenges.  In 1983 through 1984, some of the BESTD volunteers began preliminary responses to what we now know as a growing epidemic.  They formed the Milwaukee AIDS Project as a committee of BESTD Clinic.

 

With the mission of providing unmet or underprovided services, BESTD Clinic became one of the early pioneers in HIV antibody testing.  Today, it is one of the most active and accessible anonymous testing sites in the State of Wisconsin.  Clinic volunteers also initiated "outreach clinics" for off-site testing.  One of the early outreach clinics was done in concert with the Milwaukee Health Department and offered counseling and testing for those at risk to both HIV infection and tuberculosis.  The tests performed at BESTD and its outreach sites identify and large number of newly diagnosed persons who are HIV infected.

 

The BESTD remodeled facility in addition to being client-friendly, warm, and clinically up-to-date,. has retained some it's nineteenth century architectural charm, both inside and out.  In addition, provision has been made for the Clinic's large, donated art collection.  There is also adequate space for community groups and support groups to carry on their meetings and activities.

 

Since 1996, BESTD and STD Specialties Clinic at 3251 N. Holton Street, have cooperated in providing an Early Prevention Program to persons newly diagnosed with HIV infection or those not yet connected to the healthcare system.  This Program provides physical, medical and diagnostic services in addition to psycho-social assessments and support services, all without cost.

 

We are grateful to Milwaukee for providing the roots to our birth and for the nurturing and responding people who, without hesitation, offered their help in founding this unique and nationally almost one-of-a-kind healthcare agency.  The volunteers, who are the BESTD Clinic, pledge our continuing professional, sensitive and caring service to ALL who come to us for help and is done willingly and without charge.

 

This site was last updated on Friday August 23, 2002.

Copyright [2002] Brady East STD Clinic.