Atlanta to benefit from UK fundraising appeal addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis
By Dan Williams, program officer, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Georgia leads the nation in new infections of HIV/AIDS and Atlanta is in the top five of cities in the U.S. for new infections, at a time when many communities are seeing declines in new diagnoses.
New cases of HIV/AIDS in this region are largely concentrated within the young, African American male population. According to AIDSVu, there are approximately 35,400 people currently living with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta. Of those, 80.2 percent are male and 19.8 percent female. More than 70 percent are African American, nearly seven percent are Hispanic and more than 18 percent are white. The rate of black males living with an HIV diagnosis is 4.8 times that of white males.
This stark reality was the focus as experts in the local response to this crisis recently gathered for an impactful, and often emotional, dialog led by those on the front lines of the challenge. Part-time Atlanta resident, Sir Elton John, and representatives from the Elton John AIDS Foundation were on hand to hear the latest data and impact about HIV/AIDS in our region as part of the launch of AIDSfree, an appeal that will support Elton John AIDS Foundation funding in six cities globally, including Atlanta.
The money raised will help raise awareness of the risks and promote testing so that those vulnerable to HIV are aware of their status. Funding will also help connect patients to care and treatment.
The Community Foundation has been involved in the response to this health crisis from the early days of the disease’s impact in Atlanta, when the disease was still known as GRID (Gay Related Immune Disease). The Foundation made its first related grant in 1982 and the Atlanta AIDS Fund was created in 1991 to support metro Atlanta’s HIV/AIDS advocacy, prevention education and service efforts through funding and leadership. To date, through the Atlanta AIDS Fund and through donor-advised fund grants from Foundation donors, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $15 million in grants toward nonprofits that provide HIV/AIDS-related services.
The AIDSfree launch event, held in connection with World AIDS day and hosted by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Grady Health Foundation, Grady Health System and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, took place at Grady’s Ponce De Leon Center. The Ponce Center is a vital resource for those in our community impacted by HIV/AIDS and is among a number of strong nonprofits working to provide the critical care that impacted people need. Click here to read more about the Community Foundation’s work around this disease, or to learn more about how your nonprofit can apply for funding.
Group photo credit: Jeremy Selwyn, London Evening Standard