Skip to content

Why Do I Think AIDS Network Needs To Be Defunded By State Of Wisconsin?

December 15, 2009

There has been a long simmering debate in south central Wisconsin about what the future of AIDS Network should be given the many problems it seems unable to overcome due to either limited abilities, or a seemingly lack of desire to construct a more competent organization.  The fact that the State of Wisconsin has become more involved in keeping an eye on AIDS Network, while demanding that the agency try to adhere to a more professional tone, should have been a shot over the bow to Karen Dotson, the latest Executive Director of the organization.  But it seems that over and over, regardless of the need to perform to a higher level of competence, AIDS Network  seems to think that if they hunker down and take the blows all will pass and they can resume their lackluster style of  performance. 

This year there has been a series of media stories in both the mainstream press and numerous blogs that have demonstrated the problems facing AIDS Network, and by extension the clients of the agency.  The stories have ranged from the Network not truly providing services to all 13 counties they purport to serve, not making sure the doors to the agency are locked at night thus protecting confidential client records, and failing to provide complete data about the cost of their fundraising, or how the money they raise is spent.  Another complaint has centered on not keeping complete records as dictated by the State for clients.  This is always explained away as being a software problem–one has to ask though how ARCW, which uses the same software, was successfully able to implement it in a matter of weeks, and the AIDS Network is several years in to it and still can’t manage to do their charting correctly?  This writer would also express concern over how often the agency claims that the grant monies that were once available continue to dry up, leaving the budget more and more strained.  It couldn’t be perhaps that the grant writing process at the AN is flawed?–these monies are just disappearing.  They are going to someone, just not the AIDS Network.  Whatever the concern, it all adds up to a picture of an agency spinning out of control–or one that has already been off the road for some time and no one has bothered to call the police to report the incident!

For many months I have kept a watch on the stories, and though I posted several times on this matter, for the most part I kept my powder dry.  Until tonight.  After reading  a post on (a large portion posted below) detailing the waste of dollars and time spent by a case manager (one who is supposed to have been spending time working with clients) it is most clear to me that there is a rudderless non-profit floating aimlessly in the waters, making news only when the lack of a firm hand on the controls lands the agency in still more troubled waters.  Whether it be the inability of Ms. Dotson to shake up an agency which is moribund and listless, or if the blame falls on the feckless Board of Directors, one thing is clear.  The clients, who through no fault of their own, are left without services and the committed staff that they need during these difficult times that they face.

Enough IS enough.

Therefore there is no other option left for me than to come to the conclusion that AIDS Network needs to be defunded by the State of Wisconsin, and the clients that need and deserve service be shepherded under the credible shield of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.  The State of Wisconsin has allowed far too much time to elapse while the ‘same old-same old’ gets recycled by AIDS Network.   The idea that they are making a difference in the lives of clients is just not true.  What seems to be clear is that they make a great plea for donations and assistance, but then foolishly make decisions about how best to use the funds.  One friend contacted me recently via email to say, “If you are on any of [the AIDS Networks] mailing lists, you have likely noticed the wonderful full-color newsletters and brochures now–not cheap by the way–which don’t contain any more information than they used to, mind you.”   

Instead of going to work for clients while at the AIDS Network this is how one of the case managers decided to spend her day…..while being paid….with the money they beg from those who are still gullible enough to give to this embarrassing relic of a non-profit.  ( I apologize to my readers for needing to post some of the lewd topics below that this AIDS Network employee thought essential to write about.)


AIDS Network case manager Bethany Matson is also known as (bethlynn00) on

On November 9th Bethany Matson spent most of her work day posting on the

See for yourself:

Monday, November 9th

The work day then comes to an end and there are four more posts after 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 24th was another busy day.  Bethany spent another work day writing 25 posts on


The question that needs to be asked:  When does Bethany have time to serve her clients.

The next question posed by CP is when will the State Of Wisconsin defund this agency, and thereby give those who need services a real ASO to see to their needs?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Shell3201 permalink
    December 23, 2009 9:29 PM

    Stilling missing the point of what I originally said and not really a response to what I wrote, but thanks for the insight on the thoughts of a couple of B.O.Fs and this website, that was very insightful, as none of it is for me. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  2. December 23, 2009 8:17 PM

    And just to underscore the statement made by Greg here is the actual text of that link…..and the words used by Bethany Matson.

    Hands down, the best thing about working at The Frisky is our amazing readers. We so heart all of your witty, thoughtful, and informative comments—heck, we even appreciate the mean ones. Sometimes, we can’t help but wonder about the faces behind avatars. After the jump, meet Bethlynnoo, one of our most prolific commenters.

    The Frisky: Please state your name, age, and location for The Friskyverse.

    Bethlynnoo: Bethany Matson. I’m 27, although I often lie and say I am 25—I believe in rounding down when it comes to that question. I live in Madison, Wisconsin.

    The Frisky: How did you find the site?

    B: From CNN. They posted an article, I read it and have been hooked ever since!

    The Frisky: What do you do all day, other than read and comment on Frisky posts, which is totally condoned?

    B: I am an HIV Case Manager, so I work with people living with HIV/AIDS in 13 counties in Wisconsin. I spend a lot of time waiting for people at doctor’s appointments, food pantries, etc., so I spend that time checking out the Frisky from my phone or laptop, whichever one I have handy.

    The Frisky: Relationship status?

    B: Single, I’ve been told I have commitment issues.

    The Frisky: What is your fave post in recent Frisky history?

    B: That’s hard! I have an opinion on everything, so I could (and usually do) comment on all of them. But I really liked the one about women hitting their boyfriends. I deal with a lot of domestic violence and articles like that really make me think because several years ago my views on DV were very different. I definitely had a “blame the victims mentality,” so it makes me happy and appreciative to think about how much I have learned about DV.

    The Frisky: What are your pop culture guilty pleasures?

    B: I am so ashamed, but I am a big gossip freak. If I’m not on The Frisky, I’m reading Dlisted. It’s like my crack, can’t get enough of it.

    The Frisky: Can you share your most embarrassing dating story? We always share ours. It’s only fair.

    B: Wow, I have so many! I guess the absolute worst; the one I still have nightmares about was when I bled all over this guy’s couch. I occasionally have these really horribly heavy periods and he happened to ask me out when I was having one and, rather than break the date, I went over to his place to watch a movie and bled all over his couch! I was so embarrassed and when I stood up the look of horror and disgust on his face made me start crying. He just got me a towel and some Pine-Sol and went into the kitchen until I was done. Yeah, I never heard from him again. This is big. I never tell that story. It still makes me nauseous to think about it.

    The Frisky: If an actress could play you in a movie, which actress would it be?

    B: Beyonce! She’s not much of an actress, but if she played me I would be as hot as her and that’s way better than an Oscar!

    The Frisky: Thongs, full coverage, boy shorts, commando? What’s your underwear style?

    B: Oh, I’m a full coverage girl all the way! I get a lot of flack about my underwear because “the bigger the better” is my motto! Even my mom makes fun of the fact that I still buy my panties in a pack.

    The Frisky: What is your secret talent?

    B: I can hear someone’s voice once and recognize it forever. I am on the phone a lot and when people call me I know who it is before they say.

    The Frisky: If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

    B: Anywhere with no snow! We got like 11 inches yesterday and today and are supposed to get more. I guess I would be on a beach in Madrid lying next to a hot, Spanish man whose favorite English word is “Bethany.”

    The Frisky: What’s something you hope to see on The Frisky in 2010?

    B: Lots of style stuff. I love the style articles. My sister can thank Annika for her post about American Eagle Outfitters, because I bought her four of the items on that list for her for Christmas!

    The Frisky: Which other Frisky readers would you want to have lunch with?

    B: Another hard question! I would have lunch with all of the Frisky readers and staff … and not just because I like to eat! Probably some of my fave readers are Spatula, C.Munro, Riley, HumbleBee, and MuchoMacho. There are many more, but those are the ones that popped into my head.

  3. December 23, 2009 7:34 PM

    What you are missing is that Bethany Matson outed herself…see the hyperlink. What was she thinking when she revealed her first and last name, employer, etc. All for the world to see.

  4. Shell3201 permalink
    December 23, 2009 6:28 PM

    I have rarely seen where an employee is fired from a government agency that there name is printed in the article, irregardless of the fact that AIDS Network is not a governement agency,it’s actually very rare unless charges are being filed against them or possibly if they are being dismissed, even with police officers, unless charges are filed or they are suspened their names are not reported in the paper, it just says, ” 3 officers were put on leave/discplined, etc.” I think you are thinking about government officials. So yeah it is still odd, I think using the screen name in your respnse would have been a bit more helpful to the commentator was my point, obviously they did not know what they were looking for, which again is no longer there, but then again that’s my opinion and this is your website… That’s all I have to say on the manner. Thank you.

  5. December 23, 2009 4:10 PM

    Not so odd….

    If Bethany Matson were a government employee and did this jack-ass type of ‘work’ everyone would be printing her name on page one of the newspaper. So while Bethany Matson’s ‘work’ is a stain on her, and the entire AIDS Network when her name is used, it is in no way an attack.

    It is better termed, the truth.

    Not so odd after all, is it?

  6. Shell3201 permalink
    December 23, 2009 3:52 PM

    Well I know the difference between posting and commenting and I looked thru and there are no comments up under the name “bethlynn00” under many ( I didn’t get thru them all) of the links you posted. And you call the comments boring and the other site is saying they are salacious…and why did you use her full name twice in your response to “swalds”? You should have been using her screen name so that “swalds” and others would know what to look for, was that in an effort to try to prove some point? I don’t understand that, her name and screen name are both posted in the article, you use it as almost an attack or something, it’s very odd…

  7. December 17, 2009 1:26 PM


    Let me help you see more clearly this matter.

    There is a difference betweeen ‘posting’ somthing and ‘commenting’ on it. Such as I ‘posted’ here about the AIDS Network, and you ‘commented’. The same is true for Bethany Matson. While the AIDS Network employee, Bethany Matson, did not ‘post’ she did however sit for endless hours ‘commenting’……wasting time that she should have been actually working. Go back over the links again and you will find her random (and I must say boring) comments on all sorts of topics. Poor gal needs a library card if she has so much free time to spend while working at AIDS Network.

  8. swalds permalink
    December 17, 2009 10:26 AM

    You should check your links. My random check of 7 of them..none were posted by the user you listed. please explain.

  9. djhphoto permalink
    December 15, 2009 8:58 PM

    Jesse, this is not about creating a monopoly. After all we are not talking about a phone company here. This is about people’s lives. AIDS Network no longer is taking the needs of the clients into account. ARCW is not leading an attack, they are doing their job well and AIDS Network is not. ARCW is nationally renown and AIDS Network is known for their failures and shunning of the HIV/AIDS community. This is a no brainer.

    AIDS Network has 267 case managed clients in the southern region.
    ARCW has 260 case managed clients in the northeastern region.
    Green Bay has 4 case managers.
    AIDS Network has 10 case managers.

    FINALLY: The cost per client is 54 percent more in the AIDS Network southern region than in the ARCW northeastern region.

  10. December 15, 2009 8:10 PM


    This isn’t an “ARCW attack” on AIDS Network or about a “monopoly”. As a person living with AIDS I’m disgusted by the continual defense of the indefensible when it comes to AIDS Network.

    Green Bay provides far superior ASO services than Madison. see for yourself by checking out this link:

  11. December 15, 2009 5:02 PM

    As someone who typically respects your blog it is seriously unfortunate you are buying into the ACRW’s attacks on AIDS Network in an attempt to have a monopoly of funding in the state. Madison is lucky to have an dedicated agency right here in our backyard and not based in Milwaukee. You should go look up how many case workers ACRW provides to the Green Bay area and than we can talk about under representing clients.

  12. djhphoto permalink
    December 15, 2009 3:20 PM

    I am appalled at all of the information that has been uncovered. I’ve been active with ACT UP Wisconsin and know that we want what is best for the clients. THIS is evidence that the clients continue to receive no help. Unless you are a “buddy” of the now membership driven, state funded agency you get no help.

    *Shaking my head*

    Thanks to CF for writing about this. The more people that aware of the incompetency of this organization the better. We need to be emailing and calling DHS and demanding the defunding and the swift action to have AIDS Resorce Center of Wisconsin so the clients and the greater community can finally get some real help and prevention efforts.

    Did you know that Dane County (and Madison) is the worse place to live if you have HIV/AIDS? YUP! We should all be upset by this. It affects us all. :(

  13. Ferrell Gummitt permalink
    December 15, 2009 1:55 PM

    Case worker should be fired, denied unemployment benefits and a full IT and Forensic accounting audit done of the agency.

  14. madcityrunner permalink
    December 15, 2009 12:54 PM

    This needs to have more media attention. This is awful and I can tell you as one who has given to the bike ride in the past years….NO MORE! They must now prove they have cleaned up their act, and it seems from the way you write that can only be done by shutting down and starting over.

  15. Ellen permalink
    December 15, 2009 12:49 PM

    Thanks for making so many aware of what is happening. I was turned away from their agency for asking for an HIV test about a year ago. The young person at the front desk me I was not the type of person they provide that type of test for. Seems white women about 40 are not the ‘right type’. I was shocked and angry, and waited almost half a year before being tested as a result. There must be a better way to deal with HIV issues in this city than the AIDS Network.

  16. Greg permalink
    December 15, 2009 2:54 AM

    The myths this agency has perpetuated are astounding and the careless disregard for the health and welfare of clients. Madison has become the worst place in WI for ASO Provides HIV/AIDS services. A very sad commentary for our state capital.

    Thanks, Gregory, for a thoughtful post. Your voice of reason reaches many.

  17. Terry permalink
    December 15, 2009 1:44 AM

    I stopped going to the Red Ribbon affair this past year due to some of the reasons you write about. ACT UP is making some noise about this matter, and the state should be more aggressive with over-sight. The clients suffer, my brother is one of them, and so I know first hand the agency is not what it pretends to be all about. Everyone deserves better. Both the clients and those who work to support what we thought was an agency with better management and purpose.

  18. Lori permalink
    December 15, 2009 1:39 AM

    Absolutely bizarre…the bread crumb trail is a mile wide! Heads should roll.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 157 other followers

%d bloggers like this: