imagePerhaps the best wine pairing in gay Atlanta is the combination of spirits with the spirit to end HIV/AIDS. On Thursday, AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta does just that at the 20th annual Uncork A Cure gala.

One of the most respected organizations for global HIV/AIDS research and education in the country, ARCA works in collaboration with more than 50 doctors and five public health clinics to conduct clinical drug trials with the newest investigational treatments as well as provide free, anonymous rapid HIV tests to thousands of local college students.

The group has been involved in the development of 27 of the currently licensed drugs that now help millions with HIV live longer, healthier lives.

But they can’t do it without our help. That’s where the phenomenally popular Uncork A Cure, taking place this year at the Foundry At Puritan Mill on Thursday, comes in. Buy your $75 ticket online now to enjoy a night on the town you won’t soon forget.

It’s easy to give money for such a worthy cause when the fundraiser is one of the “must-do” events of the year. With a yearly attendance of 800 to 1000 patrons, Uncork is equal parts wine-tasting (more than 100 varieties), food sampling from more than 25 popular restaurants, and a silent auction that goes on and on. (Photo from last year’s event)

The premier item at this year’s silent auction will be “Dinner with Ludacris!” donated by Atlanta music star Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. Ludacris’ own Atlanta restaurant STRAITS is this year’s Host Committee Sponsor. Uncork attendees will also have the opportunity to sample the actor and Grammy winner’s special brand of “Conjure” cognac during the event.

ARCA Founder and Principal Investigator Dr. Melanie Thompson says Uncork A Cure patrons who love to shop will love the silent auction. From travel packages to jewelry and art, from entertainment and sport tickets to personal services and more, the silent auction items are currently on display in an online preview.

“It’s like shopping at an upscale mall where you know the proceeds go to a great cause,” Thompson says in a written statement. “Each year, people consistently give rave reviews that they have had a great time and their money has been well spent, not only for a great cause, but also for the items they received.”

Thompson admits that ARCA faces a daunting task this year with non-profit fundraising declining nationwide due to the unstable economy. But she also says that efficient non-profits like ARCA are used to lean times.

“82 cents of every dollar raised supports ARCA’s mission which includes developing new treatments for HIV and working in prevention research,” she says, calling Uncork A Cure funds “critical” to the nearly 20 clinical trials the organization juggles at any given time.

So what are you waiting for? As the slogan for the event goes, “Sip. Taste. Bid. Care.” It’s a no-brainer.

Uncork A Cure takes place Thursday, April 29 at The Foundry At Puritan Mill. Buy advance tickets, then click to find out more about the event, its silent auction, and all of ARCA’s work.