Georgia’s beleaguered – and not too successful – fight against HIV got a triple dose of cold, hard cash: Some $70 million of federal AIDS money, another $1.33 million to help planning efforts, and $3.16 million to two local agencies. Too bad the state’s ADAP waiting list has doubled.
The largest piece of the cash pie is somewhat expected. The nearly $70.29 million heading to Georgia is from the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and includes $3 million in emergency funds for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and $21.58 million for metro Atlanta’s HIV efforts.
ADAP supplies AIDS drugs to low-income people. It receives a mix of state and federal funding, though in Georgia the program took a $100,000 cut earlier this year in the nearly $12.5 million appropriation for ADAP. Activists wanted a $5 million boost.
But there’s more HIV money coming to Georgia.
The 12 Cities Project from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is delivering $1.33 million to the Georgia Department of Public Health, part of a larger $43 million handout across 11 cities and states. That cash is earmarked for developing and expanding primary care networks for programs serving racial and ethnic minorities at risk for HIV.
Too bad the state health department’s HIV unit is a mess.
Then there’s AID Atlanta and Positive Impact. The two groups are among 34 community-based organizations that will split $55 million over five years from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to expand HIV services for gay and bisexual men of color. Both groups were among those included in the funds when the grants were first announced last year; last week, the CDC added $10 million to the program.
AID Atlanta will receive $381,888 per year; some $250,000 per year is earmarked for Positive Impact, which recently relocated its offices to Midtown.
“While the headlines may have largely disappeared over the years, we must not forget that HIV remains a very real danger to the lives of thousands of Americans, and in particular to a younger generation of gay and bisexual men who will not remember the early and darker days of the epidemic,” Kevin Fenton, the CDC’s director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS , Viral Hepatitis, STD, & Tuberculosis Prevention says in a prepared statement.
The new cash certainly won’t have a shortage of efforts to fund. In addition to the ADAP crisis, the state is a leader in AIDS cases, Atlanta ranks No. 8 among U.S. cities for HIV cases and half of Atlanta’s HIV-positive men don’t their HIV status.
Maybe the new cash will provide a dose of hope for people gathering Wednesday for the Atlanta Pride AIDS Vigil.