Ten Community Organizations Get Funding for Positive Organizing Project

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AIDS United has awarded grants to 10 community-based organizations to help end HIV stigma and discrimination while building leadership among people living with HIV. AIDS United’s Positive Organizing Project (POP), with generous support from Gilead Sciences, taps a new generation of leaders living with HIV to help end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.

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“Meaningful involvement of people living with HIV is critical at national, local and organizational levels. The approach of ‘nothing about us without us,’ means that people living with HIV are at the center of decision making on policy and programs,” said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan, Jr.

The leadership of people living with HIV continues to be needed to allow people across this country to live well with HIV, free from stigma, discrimination and fear. These grants come at an important moment in the HIV epidemic. In late September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people living with HIV who have achieved a sustained, undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. This sends a powerful message to counter HIV stigma and harmful HIV criminalization laws.

“Meaningful involvement of people living with HIV is critical at national, local and organizational levels. The approach of ‘nothing about us without us,’ means that people living with HIV are at the center of decision making on policy and programs,” said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. “As a person living with HIV, I’m proud that these grantees are promoting leadership for our people to help achieve our national and community goals for HIV.”

From leading a multi-state initiative empowering women living with HIV, addressing leadership development of people living with HIV through advocacy/storytelling, to multiple campaigns mobilizing community members to address HIV criminalization, the 10 grantee organizations are working to harness the power and resiliency inherent in their communities to make a clear difference in the lives of people living with HIV everywhere.

“HIV stigma has a direct, negative effect on the health of people living with HIV,” said Gregg H. Alton, executive vice president for corporate and medical affairs at Gilead Sciences. “Working at the grassroots level to build supportive communities is critical to allowing people living with HIV to live well. That’s why Gilead is committed to supporting this work.”

The new awards are the fourth round of one-year grants to organizations across the U.S. To date, the initiative, with support from the U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus, has funded 39 organizations that collectively reach more than 200,000 people living with HIV.

“People living with HIV are the experts in our lives and we must be developed, empowered and included as leaders for addressing HIV policies and programs wherever we live. The Positive Organizing Project continues this legacy by developing leaders in every corner of the country to meet the needs of today’s epidemic,” said Milan.

The 2017 Positive Organizing Project grantees include:

AIDS Alabama
Birmingham, AL
A+A: Alabama Positive Action works to increase the meaningful involvement and leadership of people living with HIV in advocacy efforts in Alabama through a series of peer-to-peer trainings and a scholarship initiative.

Harlem United
New York, NY
Harlem United’s Moving Beyond Advocacy (MBA) Program promotes the leadership development of people living with HIV through trainings and workshops on advocacy, storytelling, working with the media, advances in HIV care and intersectionality issues.

Idaho Coalition for HIV Health and Safety
Pocatello, ID
The Idaho Coalition for HIV Health and Safety will educate Idahoans on the importance of modernizing Idaho's HIV Criminalization Codes to ensure more Idahoans living with HIV to find their voices and demand a seat at all tables concerning HIV policies and laws in Idaho now and in the future.

International Community of Women North America (ICW-NA)
New Jersey, North Carolina, Washington
ICW-NA will work with women living with HIV in New Jersey, North Carolina and Seattle, Washington to connect communities of women living with HIV and support their empowerment by creating a joint HIV advocacy campaign led by these women.

Life Foundation
Honolulu, HI
Life Foundation’s POP Ohana (Family) Project will continue its development and cultivation of leaders to perform groundbreaking advocacy, develop a speakers’ bureau and conduct a needs assessment of people living with HIV across the state.

Positive Women’s Network South Carolina Chapter
South Carolina
The South Carolina Chapter of the Positive Women's Network - USA will build a statewide coalition led by people living with HIV to modernize South Carolina's HIV criminal laws.

Positive Women’s Network Texas Chapter
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
The Texas Chapter of the Positive Women’s Network – USA will prepare and equip 100 people living with HIV in Texas to participate effectively in decision making and policy advocacy efforts by increasing understanding of meaningful involvement of people living with HIV, avenues for involvement and key advocacy issues, such as HIV criminalization and Medicaid policy.

Special Services for Groups
Los Angeles, CA
Special Services for Groups Project “We Belong,” aims to increase the capacity of people living with HIV/AIDS to become Peer Housing Advocates to empower themselves and their community to combat homelessness and unstable housing.

The Catharsis Project
Los Angeles, CA
The Creative Remedy and Education Workshop (C.R.E.W) is a two-part project that creates opportunities for black, gay millennials living with HIV to strengthen different professional skills while creating a foundation of support for each other.

THRIVE SS
Atlanta, GA
THRIVE SS will expand member-led policy education initiatives, into both state and municipal policy arenas and enhance the work of a newly formed Political and Social Action Network (PASAN) with policy and organizational advocacy agenda development.

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About AIDS United: AIDS United’s mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $104 million to local communities, and have leveraged more than $117 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy. aidsunited.org.

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Sarah Hashmall
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