AIDS United Awards $160K to HIV/AIDS Organizations in Puerto Rico for HIV Prevention

(WASHINGTON, D.C. --  February 16, 2012) – Upholding its commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States – including the highly impacted Puerto Rico -- AIDS United has awarded $160K in grants to nine Puerto Rican HIV/AIDS organizations to help prevent the spread of the disease in  the disproportionately affected U.S. territory.  A list of grantees and their project descriptions can be found by clicking here

The grants will support efforts to boost the capacity of community-based organizations and collaboratives to provide vital HIV/AIDS prevention services, such as risk reduction counseling and group programs, HIV testing and counseling, peer-based outreach and education, syringe exchange and community-level interventions to reduce stigma.

A lack of resources, combined with deeply-ingrained stigma, has allowed the HIV/AIDS epidemic to run rampant in Puerto Rico. 

“Puerto Rico has an HIV death rate higher than any U.S. state or territory,” said Vignetta Charles, PhD, AIDS United Senior Vice President. “The island is shockingly scarce in financial resources as HIV rages on, so strategic investments in HIV prevention activities are imperative if we are going to turn the tide of the epidemic there.”

AIDS United has provided more than $497,000 in grants in Puerto Rico since 2008 (as the National AIDS Fund), primarily for HIV prevention interventions.  In February 2011, AU also spearheaded efforts to bring additional funding partners to Puerto Rico to see first-hand the state of the epidemic on the island and its communities, and to learn from a local perspective about how additional strategic investments might best be deployed to have the greatest impact on the island’s hardest-hit populations.  In direct response to the recommendations from stakeholders on the islands, a separate set of awards will be granted this year to support efforts to integrate services in PR.  For more information about applying for a service integration grant, click here

Funding partners with AIDS United in Puerto Rico grantmaking are Elton John AIDS Foundation, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, van Ameringen Foundation, and MAC AIDS Fund.    

“AIDS United is thrilled that so many private sector corporations and foundations have joined with us to fund life-saving HIV prevention programs in Puerto Rico,” said Dr. Charles.  “Only when we pull together to help to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our neighboring U.S. territory will we fulfill our mission to end the epidemic in America.”