30 Community-Based Organizations in U.S South Receive Support for HIV Advocacy Efforts

AIDS United awards $1.4 million as part of the Southern REACH grantmaking initiative.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — March 24, 2014 — Thirty community-based organizations in the Southern United States have increased capacity to protect and advance the health, human rights and dignity of persons most affected by HIV/AIDS in the region, thanks to recent grants from AIDS United. With support from the Ford Foundation, AIDS United recently granted $1.4 million to organizations in the Southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

The grants are part of AIDS United’s Southern REACH (Regional Expansion of Access and Capacity to Address HIV/AIDS) initiative. Southern REACH supports advocacy programs that shape responsible HIV/AIDS public policy, and/or respond to the underlying legal, political, and systemic barriers contributing to the disproportionate rates of HIV/AIDS in the Southern region of the United States.

AIDS United and the Ford Foundation remain dedicated to protecting and promoting the human rights of people living with, at risk for and/or affected by HIV/AIDS. Southern REACH grants reflect the commitment of both organizations to continue expanded investment in strategic HIV/AIDS policy, advocacy, and organizing activities led by community-based organizations, advocacy coalitions, and other allies with public policy and advocacy experience.

A recent report released in March 2013 by AIDS United, Public Policy Committee member, Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative, analyzing CDC HIV surveillance data from 2008-2013 shows that the deep South region had the highest HIV and AIDS diagnosis rates as well as the highest HIV and AIDS case fatality rates for each year during this time period. The South also had the highest number of people living with HIV of any region in 2011. In 2011, 40% of new HIV diagnoses were in the targeted deep South states, a region that contains only 28% of the US population.

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. rages on and the disparities faced by so many in the south are only growing. We can change this, but it will require targeted and strategic advocacy,” said AIDS United President & CEO Michael Kaplan. “We are grateful to the Ford Foundation for its leadership and unparalleled support in this effort as we work with a dynamic set of organizations to educate key decision makers and ensure people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS have access to crucial HIV prevention, care and treatment services.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 46% of all new AIDS diagnoses in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia are in the South, and the South leads the nation in persons living with, and dying from, AIDS.

“HIV/AIDS is a social justice issue everywhere. In the South, it is a social justice crisis,” said Brook Kelly-Green, Program Officer, HIV/AIDS Rights Initiative/Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice at Ford Foundation.

“Our Southern REACH partnership with AIDS United helps us join forces with communities in the region to tackle that crisis by helping people living with and affected by HIV in the South raise their voices to fight ignorance and stigma, and to promote and shape public policy that improves their lives.”

2014 Southern REACH Grantees

ACCESS Network Inc. (Ridgeland, SC)

AIDS Action Coalition of Huntsville (Huntsville, AL)

AIDS Alabama Inc. (Birmingham, AL)

BASIC NWFL Inc (Panama City, FL)

Birmingham AIDS Outreach Inc. (Birmingham, AL)

Catawba Care (Rock Hill, SC)

Choices (Memphis, TN)

Collaborative Solutions Inc. (Birmingham, AL)

Duke University (Durham, NC)

El Centro Hispano, Inc. (Durham, NC)

Equality Foundation of Georgia Inc. (Atlanta, GA)

Friends for Life Corporation (Memphis, TN)

HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two (Baton Rouge, LA)

Legal Services Alabama Inc. (Montgomery, AL)

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont Inc. (Charlotte, NC)

Living Affected Corporation (Little Rock, AR)

Louisiana AIDS Advocacy Network (Lafayette, LA)

Mississippi Center for Justice (Jackson, MS)

My Brother’s Keeper (Ridgeland, MS)

Nashville CARES (Nashville, TN)

NO AIDS Task Force (for their AIDSLaw program; New Orleans, LA)

North Carolina AIDS Action Network (Raleigh, NC)

North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (Durham, NC)

OASIS (Ft. Walton Beach, FL)

SisterLove Inc. (Atlanta, GA)

South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council (Columbia, SC)

South Carolina HIV/AIDS Task Force (Ridgeland, SC)

Southern AIDS Coalition (Birmingham, AL)

Western North Carolina AIDS Project (Asheville, NC)

Women With A Vision (New Orleans, LA)