By mid-March, Zina Age still hadn’t heard back from Fulton County about her request for $200,000 in grant money to test 1,200 people for HIV. She continued the work of Aniz, Inc., the organization she runs, on the assumption that the money she had received for years would come through.Then a list of groups to be funded was circulated. It was missing Aniz and several other local organizations that test high-risk residents and help them get care. Leaders of local HIV and AIDS-preventionorganizations were up in arms.
In the end, they didn’t need to be about the funding— it was going to come. But the fact that no one told them that still rankles the leaders.“Of course I was panicking,” Age said. “We had been doing the work since January.”Wednesday, Fulton Health Director Kathleen Toomeywill recommend all the organizations that were left off the initial list get some funding, including $150,000 to Aniz — enough to fund 900 tests. Though the reduction in funds means Age will have to cut a position, it’s not nearly as devastating as it would have been if the organization had been awarded nothing, Age said.For months, the leaders of HIV and AIDS-prevention organizations had been asking about the status of their applications, to no avail. The way Toomey explains it, the issue is twofold: she and others at the county aren’t allowed to communicate with organizations while they are going through the grant process. And the CDC’s money doesn’t come all at once.So her solution was to split the money when the county got it, with five organizations getting paid first and nine mostly smaller groups getting funding when the CDC sent more money to the county.“We didn’t communicate our intentions well,” Toomey said. “Communication with the community is key, and we’ll do a better job in the future.”Fanning the flames of frustration is the history of mismanagement from Toomey’s predecessor at the Fulton health department. After receiving $21.5 million in grant money from the CDC between 2012 and 2014, the county had $8.8 million in HIV grant money clawed backafter it failed to spendall of it on schedule. The county was later able to recover some of the money.“One thing became very clear: there’s an immense level of lack of communication,” said Imara Canady, the regional director of communications and community engagement for the southern bureau of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “It’s disheartening to see there are still some basic challenges.”Canady and others also expressed concern that members of the county’s HIV/AIDS task force were not told about the funding plans, and that there wasn’t more transparency about the process. Even county commissioners, who were scheduled to vote on the first round of funding last month, weren’t aware that the leaders of several organizations had concerns.“It was not on their radar that there was an issue,” he said. “To have not had any level of communication is just not acceptable.”Canady, a board member at AID Atlanta, said a lack of funding would have halted HIV testing services in vulnerable communities.Atlanta is one of the hardest-hit areas for new cases of HIV. With delays in funding or concerns that money might not come through, he said, fewer people are tested for HIV. They aren’t able to learn their status, or be connected to care.“God forbid if they are not renewed,” Canady said of the Wednesday vote
By Gracie Bonds Staples - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
CDC rejects funding for Aid Atlanta - what health program is affected — Just one month ago, AID Atlanta was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its strong track record providing needed services to thousands of metro Atlantans living with HIV/AIDS.It was confirmation that AID Atlanta’s prevention/intervention programs were making a difference.
And so when the nonprofit, which has been receiving CDC funds for the past 14 years, applied again for funding to continue those efforts through 2022, it was certain the CDC would oblige.That, though, didn’t happen.In an about-face delivered via U.S. mail late last month, the CDC notified AID Atlanta that it had denied its request but gave no explanation.“It was baffling,” said AID Atlanta spokesman Imara Canady.
HIV/AIDS – Atlanta’s Silent Epidemic(From Atlanta Voice)Unlike those sirens which warn communities when a possible tornado is approaching, there are none to warn you of an epidemic taking place in your community.
Caribbean American Movers and Shakers has chosen AID Atlanta as it’s organization of focus for their annual awards event on September 25th.Our executive Director, Nicole Roebuck will be speaking at the event covering AID Atlanta's work in the communities most impacted by HIV infections and our testing and prevention outreach programs to get education, counseling and linkage to care services to those most vulnerable. Georgia ranks 5th in the nation for new HIV infections and it is these important civic partnerships such as the Caribbean American Movers and Shakers that can help us reduce infections and make the Atlanta metro area a healthier community allowing people to live their best lives.
This year’s event will bring awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic with our civic partnership with AID Atlanta, which has been providing HIV/AIDS-related services, since 1982.
In the face of fear and bigotry, founding members volunteered their time to provide support and education. The organization quickly expanded to engage Black and Latino populations and meet the evolving needs of our diverse community in response to the epidemic. Today, AID Atlanta offers a broad range of services and has grown to be the most comprehensive AIDS service organization in the Southeast.
Tony Award-nominated actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who originated the role of Deena Jones in the popular Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” has another passion she’s nurtured for nearly as long as her successful acting career.Ralph, a longtime AIDS awareness activist, is in town for National HIV Testing Week. During an AID Atlanta prayer breakfast Friday, she encouraged faith leaders to put aside the stigmas and labels we sometimes attach to people with AIDS and show love, not hate.“When I see all of you here this morning, I know I can keep hope alive because I am a woman of faith and you all are faith leaders,” she said to clergy gathered at Paschal’s restaurant in Atlanta.Outside the breakfast, Ralph stood in front of a red, black and white quilt containing the pictures of friends she’s lost to AIDS over the years. People like Howard Rollins, an Academy Award-nominated actor who starred in movies such as “Ragtime” and in the popular TV show “In the Heat of the Night,” filmed in Georgia in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Rollins died from AIDS in 1996.New technology and advances in testing have made it easier than ever to get tested, said Debra Fraser-Howze, senior vice president of government and external affairs for OraSure Technologies Inc., which develops, manufactures and distributes oral collection and testing devices.“Testing for HIV used to require going to a doctor or clinic, having blood drawn, and waiting days or weeks to get results,” she said via email.In the late 1990s, OraSure launched the nation’s first FDA-approved oral fluid lab-based test. Samples were collected and sent to a lab and results were ready in 72 hours. But some people never returned for their results.Now people can be tested and get their results within 20 minutes, she said. Rapid testing can be done with a finger stick or through the collection of oral fluid. The results are protected by state and federal privacy laws and can only be released with the patient’s permission.HIV testing is a matter of life and death, and churches need to be in the forefront of these efforts, said Pastor Gerald Durley, retired pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta and longtime civil rights activist.Ralph drove this point home by referring to Jesus’ remarks in the New Testament, which she referred to as the “red parts.”“Nowhere in the red parts did Jesus ever say, ‘I hate those people. I don’t like those people or I think these people need to change their nasty ways.’ He had a whole lot of people in his tribes, his followers, who were some different kinds of people.”
Nearly half of all gay and bisexual black men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — during their lifetime, according to a report last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.Since that announcement, I’ve been waiting for some logical point to declare itself, something that might help me frame a conversation around that startling revelation.READ FULL STORY HERE April 17, 2016
Omari Hargrove is a 17-year-old rising senior at the Carver School of Arts. One day, he told me, he’d like to be a filmmaker or cartoonist or music producer. Like others his age, he’s not yet sure which.
Perhaps all three, he said.
One day, he said, he didn’t much feel like going to see his adviser, but on his way there, he happened upon a class where Dan Enger was speaking to fellow classmates.
Right away, Omari noticed something different. The students were hanging on Enger’s every word.
READ FULL STORY HERE April 16, 2016
Nicole Roebuck Chosen to Lead AID Atlanta HIV/AIDS Service Organization Atlanta, GA – Michael Kahane, Southern Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), officially announced that Nicole Roebuck has been chosen to permanently serve as Executive Director for AID Atlanta, an Atlanta-based affiliate organization of AHF. With over 15 years of leadership at AID Atlanta, Nicole started with the organization in 2000 as the agency’s first Continuous Quality Improvement Manager. Given her tremendous work in this area, she was quickly promoted into the role of Director of Client Services, which she held until her appointment as acting executive director in October 2015. During her leadership overseeing client services, she led the department in serving over 3,200 members annually, provided leadership and oversight to various aspects of the agency including mental health, housing and other support service programs, including case management, the agency’s largest service program. Since shifting into her new leadership role, Nicole has continued to have a tremendous impact on the agency and its overall positive impact in the metro Atlanta community. She is actively involved in the field and serves on the Ryan White Part A Comprehensive Planning Committee, the Ryan White Part B Case Management Committee, the Georgia Prevention and Care Planning Group and is an active member of the recently created Fulton County Task Force on HIV/AIDS established by Fulton County Chairman John Eaves to combat the HIV epidemic in Fulton County.READ MORE
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