29 Organizations Receive Support to Advocate for Sound HIV/AIDS Public Policy In 9 Southern States

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- March 15, 2012 -- 29 community-based organizations in the Southern United States will have increased capacity to advocate for sound public policy that address the needs of those in the U.S. South most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS 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, Northern Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For descriptions of grantee projects, click here

The grants, which are part of AIDS United's Southern REACH (Regional Expansion of Access and Capacity to Address HIV/AIDS) initiative will support the development and expansion of programs that seek to achieve social change, shape responsible HIV/AIDS public policy, and/or respond to the underlying legal, political, and systemic barriers contributing to disproportionate rates of HIV/AIDS in the Southern United States. A list of grantees can be found at the end of this press release, and descriptions of grantee projects can be found by clicking here.

The grant awards reflect the commitment of AIDS United and the Ford Foundation to expand investment in and have significant impact on HIV/AIDS public policy and advocacy in the Southern U.S, with particular focus on the disproportionate impact of HIV on Hispanic/Latino populations and access to justice/law reform.

According to a report released in January 2012 by the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative, the Southern states account for 8 of the 10 states in the country with the highest HIV death rates (deaths per 100,000 population). All nine targeted Southern states are among the 15 states with the highest death rates. Six of the 10 states with the highest HIV prevalence rates are targeted Southern states.

"The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. South continues to be fueled by ignorance, stigma and poor public policy that allow the epidemic to rage on unabated," said AIDS United Interim President and CEO Victor Barnes. "Communities in these disproportionately impacted areas must be more diligent than ever in educating their key decision makers to ensure people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS have access to crucial HIV prevention, care and treatment services. We are so grateful for the Ford Foundation's ongoing support so we can continue to affect social change to improve - and save - lives."

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.

"The challenge we face is clear and urgent: If we're going to tackle the continuing HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States, the communities at the center of the epidemic need a much stronger role in shaping policies meant to fight the disease," said Terry M. McGovern, Senior Program Officer of The Ford Foundation. "Today's epidemic demands that policymakers hear much more from communities in the South, which is an epicenter of new infections. Southern REACH is making that possible, and we are extremely proud to partner with AIDS United to continue this important work."

About AIDS United

The mission of AIDS United is to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States. We will achieve this goal through national, regional and local policy/advocacy, strategic grantmaking, and organizational capacity building. With partners throughout the country, we will work to ensure that people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS have access to the prevention and care services they need and deserve.

The creation of AIDS United combines private-sector fundraising, philanthropy, coalition building, public policy expertise, and advocacy - as well as a network of passionate local and state partners - to most effectively and efficiently respond to the disease in the communities most impacted by it.

2012 Southern REACH Grantees (for a list of project descriptions, click here

A Brave New Day

Acadiana CARES

ACCESS Network

AIDS Alabama

Birmingham AIDS Outreach

Careteam, Inc.

Catawba Care

Collaborative Solutions, Inc.

Duke University

Equality Foundation of Georgia

Friends For Life Corporation

Healing BALM of Northeast Fla. (DBA Florida Community Prev. Ctr.)

Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida

Legal Services Alabama, Inc.

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont

The Living Affected Corporation

Mississippi Center for Justice

Nashville CARES

NO/AIDS Task Force

North Carolina AIDS Action Network

North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Inc (NCHRC)

Okaloosa AIDS Support and Informational Services, Inc. (OASIS)

RAIN, Inc.

SisterLove, Inc.

South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council

The Southern AIDS Coalition, Inc.

Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)

Women With a Vision, Inc.

Tri-County Community Health Council Inc


###