- AmeriCorps/Caring Counts
- Community Partners
- Community Partnership Expansion
- GENERATIONS II
- Gulf Coast HIV/AIDS Relief Fund
- Prison Health Initiative
- Southern REACH
- Syringe Access
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Building Community-Based Capacity to Address HIV/AIDS in the South
The National AIDS Fund, with support from the Ford Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, is pleased to announce a new grantmaking initiative entitled Southern REACH (Regional Expansion of Access and Capacity to Address HIV/AIDS). In this first year of the Southern REACH initiative, $1.38 million in grant resources have been provided to community-based organizations (CBOs) in eight Southern states to broaden and strengthen community capacity to address HIV/AIDS among marginalized, at-risk, and underserved populations. This is being achieved through investments in the operations and programming of strategically positioned CBOs that have the demonstrated ability to reach priority populations with HIV prevention and care services or to lead policy and advocacy efforts that will impact priority populations. The National AIDS Fund has awarded 30 grants to CBOs across Alabama, Northern Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee in three categories: 1) Organizational Support; 2) Program Support; and 3) Policy and Advocacy. The average grant size is $46,000.
This is a critical time in the evolution of HIV/AIDS prevention and care systems and for the response to the disease in the United States. While overall prevention and treatment efforts have greatly reduced AIDS-related deaths and HIV transmission compared to the first decade of the epidemic, new HIV cases have remained fairly steady for the last 15 years – estimated at 40,000 new infections annually. There are now well over one million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. Most concerning, approximately one-third of those living with HIV do not know their HIV status.
Nowhere is the need for more effective systems of HIV prevention and care more evident than in the South. The problems of poverty, unemployment, lower education levels, poor health care access, and under-resourced community-based services have contributed to a growing disease burden unlike any other in the U.S., not just for HIV/AIDS but across many health areas. HIV-related stigma, homophobia, international migration, the ongoing tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and many other issues have further challenged the region. The following statistics reflect a troubling HIV/AIDS epidemic in the South:
- The South has some of the highest AIDS case rates in the country. Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee all had AIDS case rates above the national average in 2005. From 2000-2003, new AIDS cases increased 35.6% in the six states of the Deep South (AL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) compared to 5.2% in all other states combined.
- Eight of the nine states included in this initiative were among the top 15 states with the highest age-adjusted HIV death rates in 2003 (the most recent year for which data is available). The South is the only region of the U.S. where the estimated number of HIV/AIDS-related deaths increased from 2001-2005.
- The impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans in the South has been devastating. In seven of the nine states included in this initiative, over 60% of new AIDS cases are among African Americans.
- In Louisiana and Mississippi, over 75% of new AIDS cases are among African Americans. Comparatively, African Americans make up only 17-37% of the population in these states.
Despite the fact that the nine states initially targeted through this initiative made up 28% of the new AIDS cases reported in 2005, the South receives only a small fraction of HIV/AIDS grants made by the 50 largest HIV/AIDS-focused private philanthropies in the U.S. In 2006, the percentage of funding directed to the area covered by Southern REACH was likely less than 10%. Public and private funding for comprehensive HIV prevention is insufficient and basically non-existent in some areas of the South.
Goals of Southern REACH
Southern REACH provides grant resources and technical support to CBOs in eight southern states to broaden and strengthen community capacity to address HIV/AIDS for marginalized, at-risk, and underserved populations. This will be achieved through investments in the operations and programming of strategically positioned CBOs that have the demonstrated ability to reach priority populations with HIV prevention and care services or to lead policy and advocacy efforts that will impact priority populations.
Priority populations for this initiative include:
- Communities of color
- Women, particularly those living in poverty
- High-risk youth (e.g., gay/questioning youth, runaways, youth of color)
- Growing immigrant communities and migrant workers
- Men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men
- Transgendered individuals
- Persons affected by incarceration
- Persons who are homeless
- Persons impacted by drug addiction, especially injection drug use or methamphetamines.As previously mentioned, this initiative provides grant resources in three categories: 1) Organizational Support; 2) Program Support; and 3) Policy and Advocacy.Organizational Support: These grants are for general operating support to allow organizations to stabilize or grow. Organizational Support grants are for organizations with a demonstrated track record of reaching the priority populations with effective HIV/AIDS prevention and/or care services and need core support to allow them to expand their work. These grants may also be used to support specific activities or technical services that would enhance the organization’s development, such as strategic planning, board development, organizational assessments, operational and financial management improvement, networking and collaboration-building, and resource development.
Program Support: These grants support costs directly associated with the design, implementation, and/or evaluation of specific HIV/AIDS prevention or care interventions for which public dollars are unavailable.
Policy and Advocacy: These grants cover expenses related to strengthening networks for the purposes of developing and pursuing a policy change, training persons affected by HIV/AIDS to become policy advocates, or pursuing educational activities to inform policymakers. The National AIDS Fund is especially interested in efforts that connect HIV/AIDS advocacy with broader public health and social justice movements.