Twenty-Seven Community Organizations Receive Critical Funding to Turn Tide of HIV in Deep South

AIDS United’s Southern REACH initiative awards $1 million in 2015 and $11 million over 10-year program history to create social change, effective policy and advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 28, 2015 – With support from AIDS United, 27 community-based organizations in the U.S. South have developed innovative and effective advocacy projects that protect and advance the health and wellbeing of people living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS throughout the Deep South. With support from the Ford Foundation, AIDS United recently granted $1 million to organizations in the Southern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The AIDS United Southern REACH (Regional Expansion of Access and Capacity to Address HIV/AIDS) initiative provides support to advocacy programs that target critical issues and educational events that provide people living with HIV and their allies the tools they need to advocate for solutions to regional challenges that matter in the South. To raise awareness of Southern REACH, highlight the issue of HIV/AIDS in the South, and to support awareness of the work and successes of its grantees, AIDS United has launched a new initiative-specific website,

This year marks 10 years of strategic grantmaking through Southern REACH. In this time, AIDS United has managed over $11 million invested by the Ford Foundation in Southern states severely impacted by HIV in order to create lasting social change. REACH remains one of the largest non-government programs investing in reducing and eliminating HIV in the South. Through REACH, the legal, political and systematic barriers to ensure health, human rights and dignity for people living with HIV are addressed.

The Southern U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented HIV burden. Nearly half (49%) of all new HIV diagnoses occur in the South despite the region representing just 37% of the total U.S. population. Not only are people in the South more likely to become HIV infected, they also die at higher rates. Barriers such as poverty, stigma, racism, heterosexism and limited access to insurance impede access to treatment and necessary support – the very challenges that Southern REACH grantees are poised to address.

“There is no question about the need to focus on the South. From policy to implementation, the challenges are many,” says Michael Kaplan, president and CEO at AIDS United. “We are so thankful for the support and leadership from the Ford Foundation and the resolve of our grantees partnering with us in this work. REACH is a winning solution to help address the unparalleled burden of HIV and the disparities experienced throughout the region.”

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation said, “When I moved to New York in the late 1980s, the HIV/AIDS crisis was devastating communities, but also galvanizing a powerful response from activists and visionaries fighting for social change. Today, the faces and places most affected by the virus may be different, but the battle against HIV/AIDS and for human dignity rages on.” Walker adds, “For our part, Ford Foundation is proud to support those in the vanguard of the struggle, especially in the American South where discrimination and harmful laws and policies are pervasive. Going into the 10th year of this partnership we thank those who have risen up to take on the challenge of HIV in the U.S. South.”

The 2015 Southern REACH grantees include:

  • ACCESS Network, Inc. (Ridgeland, SC)
  • Affinity Health Center (Rock Hill, SC)
  • AIDS Action Coalition of Huntsville (Huntsville, AL)
  •  AIDS Alabama (Birmingham, AL)
  • BASIC NWFL, Inc. (Panama City, FL)
  • Birmingham AIDS Outreach (Birmingham, AL)
  • Choices: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health (Memphis, TN)
  • Collaborative Solutions Inc. (Birmingham, AL)
  • Duke University (Durham, NC)
  • El Centro Hispano, Inc (Durham, NC)
  • Equality Foundation of Georgia (Atlanta, GA)
  • Friends For Life Corporation (Memphis, TN HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Legal Services Alabama (Montgomery, AL)
  • Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (Charlotte, NC)
  • Louisiana AIDS Advocacy Network (Shreveport, LA)
  • Mississippi Center for Justice (Jackson, MS)
  • Nashville CARES (Nashville, TN)
  • NO/AIDS Task Force (New Orleans, LA)
  • North Carolina AIDS Action Network (Raleigh, NC)
  • North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (Durham, NC)
  • Okaloosa AIDS Support and Informational Services, Inc. (OASIS) (Fort Walton Beach, FL)
  • SisterLove, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)
  • South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council (Columbia, SC)
  • South Carolina HIV Task Force (Ridgeland, SC)
  • Western North Carolina AIDS Project (Asheville, NC)
  • Women With a Vision, Inc. (New Orleans, LA)

About AIDS United:
Created by a merger between the National AIDS Fund and AIDS Action in late 2010, AIDS United’s mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States, through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $85.8 million to local communities, and have leveraged more than $110 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy.