Thursday, September 9, 2010

ViiV Healthcare Awards Southern Initiative Grants to Reduce HIV Disparities Among African Americans and Latinos

/PRNewswire/ -- ViiV Healthcare today announced the grant awardees of the Positive Action Southern Initiative, focused on supporting African American and Latino populations in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi to help high-risk HIV/AIDS individuals and provide linkages to HIV/AIDS care and treatment adherence.

"The Positive Action Southern Initiative awards are being made at a critical time in the national fight against HIV. These funds are nothing short of life-saving. Community organizations are facing tremendous pressure to do more with less in this economic climate and the demands continue to grow, especially among African American and Latino communities in Southern states," stated A. Cornelius Baker, Senior Policy Advisor of the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition. "I am excited that ViiV is supporting such important initiatives that address disparities in HIV and support the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy."

In the U.S., 1.1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS(i) and African Americans and Latinos account for a disproportionate share of new HIV infections (62 percent). In 2007, the Southern United States accounted for almost half (46 percent) of new AIDS cases and has the greatest number of people estimated to be living with AIDS(i).

The Southern Initiative is part of ViiV Healthcare's Positive Action, a collaborative, community-focused program designed to address gaps in services or programs that support care and treatment adherence among individuals living with HIV/AIDS. ViiV Healthcare has committed $850,000 this year to support Positive Action Community Grants in the U.S. and $500,000 over the next two years to support the Southern Initiative grantees. ViiV Healthcare is hosting the grant recipients at this week's United States Conference on AIDS, where they will enable the development of a Regional HIV Network to share best practices and resources to advance the fight against HIV.

ViiV Healthcare has selected a total of seven organizations to receive grants over the next two years to support their programs specifically focused on reducing disparities in HIV/AIDS linkages to care and treatment among African American and Latinos in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The following organizations were selected as grant awardees:

-- Aid to Inmate Moms, based in Montgomery, AL, will continue its
collaboration with local AIDS Service Organizations to support
HIV-positive incarcerated women with critical counseling services.
-- Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, based in Atlanta, GA, will provide
additional case management services for HIV-positive individuals who
are re-entering the community from the state's jails and prisons.
-- Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge, based in Baton Rouge, LA, will
expand its Corrections Referral and Case Management program to serve
more HIV-positive individuals exiting the corrections system and to
successfully connect them with quality care.
-- Grace House in Jackson, MS, will expand its CLEAR (Choosing Life:
Empowerment, Action, Results) program to serve more HIV-positive
clients and provide services aimed at improving treatment adherence,
cognitive behavior, and prevention activities.
-- Positive Impact, based in Atlanta, GA, will provide additional
intensive case management services for HIV-positive Latino individuals
and HIV-positive African American women.
-- Southwest Louisiana AIDS Council based in Lake Charles, LA, will
expand its medical systems navigation program, FAST (Find, Assess,
Stabilize, and Treat), to serve additional newly-diagnosed persons,
previously incarcerated persons, and those who have not successfully
remained in care.
-- Union Mission's J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center, based in
Savannah, GA, will enhance its Healthy Living education and adherence
program for homeless and low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS.

"ViiV Healthcare received a great response from grassroots organizations in the South demonstrating the need is great. The awardees' proposed programs are unique and provide promise towards alleviating HIV in the United States among communities most impacted by the disease. ViiV Healthcare puts the interests of those affected by HIV at the center of everything we do. We are honored to support communities through these grants. It is our hope the initiatives will positively impact those areas in critical need of HIV/AIDS resources," said Bill Collier, Head of North America, ViiV Healthcare.

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