Positive Organizing Project
The progress made in the history of the HIV epidemic would not have been possible without the engagement and advocacy of people living with HIV. The Positive Organizing Project continues the legacy of coalition building within the HIV community to affect even greater change. From addressing the unique needs of people aging with HIV in Florida to organizing a statewide campaign led by women tackling HIV criminalization laws in South Carolina, POP grantees are building grassroots leadership of people living with HIV across the country.
Through a Positive Organizing Project grant, Harlem United selected and trained community members to serve as our Peer Empowerment Leaders. These community leaders started conversations with their peers about the realities of living with HIV.
"My hope is that I can help as many people as I can through the knowledge and skills I've developed in life"
- Yance Jones, Peer Empowerment Leader
The AIDS United Sector Transformation initiative helps organizations sustain critical services within the everchanging political and financial landscape. Organizations that previously didn’t need to pay much attention to policy at the national level are now being forced to “get in the game” and respond accordingly. Putting out fires and focusing on this year’s program numbers and budget aren’t good enough anymore. Through support from the AIDS United Sector Transformation initiative, organizations are able to create and refine new programs, systems, and protocols needed to transform their organization for the future.
“Support from Sector Transformation allowed us to explore options such as third-party billing, which helped us open Prism Health, an LGBTQ+ focused primary health care center. This is an important step in providing affirming and highquality care to all members of our community.”.
— Tyler TerMeer, Executive Director, Cascade AIDS Project
Following the landmark decision to end the ban on the use of federal funding for syringe services programs in December 2015, Getting to Zero and the Policy Department worked together to translate new federal guidance for organizations serving on the frontlines.
Getting to Zero
Getting to Zero, AIDS United’s CDC-funded capacity building program, provides tailored training and technical assistance to organizations at the heart of the epidemic. In 2016, Getting to Zero expanded their capacity to serve agencies in some of the lowest resource areas of the country, with almost half of agencies served in the South. Focus areas of the Getting to Zero team include strategic planning, cultural humility, social media outreach, and more.
In response to the direct link between HIV and the growing opioid epidemic, Getting to Zero bolstered their harm reduction offerings for organizations serving people who use drugs. This was even more important after the landmark change in federal policy in February of 2016 allowing federal funds to support syringe service programs.
Syringe Access Fund
The Syringe Access Fund (SAF), a national grantmaking
collaborative, supported over 80 direct service and advocacy
grants that reduced use of shared syringes and ensured their
Syringe services programs are important because infected needles result in 3,000 to 5,000 new cases of HIV and approximately 10,000 new cases of hepatitis C in the U.S. each year. Conclusive scientific evidence has shown that syringe services programs significantly reduce transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne illnesses, without promoting drug use. Syringe services programs protect police and the public from accidental exposure to used needles by promoting the safe disposal of used syringes. The Syringe Access Fund remains committed to ensuring these programs have the resources needed to expand impact and reduce HIV transmission in our most vulnerable communities.
Each state that had a SAF advocacy grantee saw legislative wins, including legalizing syringe services programs in North Carolina and legalizing a pilot syringe services program in Miami, FL!
“The heroin epidemic continues to devastate central Ohio. Overdose deaths in Ohio have exceeded 3,000 for this year, a 20.5% increase from overdose deaths in 2014. Through grant monies from AIDS United and the Syringe Access Fund, the Safe Point program has saved lives by providing overdose education, linkage to alcohol and drug treatment, and disease prevention. And by providing access to sterile injection equipment, Safe Point has helped prevent new HIV infections.”
— Peggy Anderson, Chief Operating Officer Equitas Health
The Syringe Access Fund is the largest private grant-making collaborative that supports syringe services programs as a proven and cost-effective strategy to reduce new HIV and viral hepatitis infections. The collaborative was founded in 2004 and is supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Irene Diamond Fund, Levi Strauss Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and AIDS United. The Syringe Access Fund has distributed nearly $18 million through 347 grants to 161 organizations in 32 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.