The North Carolina AIDS Action Network Secures Funding for Ella/Her Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Christina Adeleke, North Carolina AIDS Action Network, [email protected], (305) 588-4373

New grant funding from Gilead Sciences will support the organization’s efforts to reduce HIV stigma for Black and Latina women in North Carolina.

Raleigh – The North Carolina AIDS Action Network has been awarded a grant of $250,000 from Gilead Sciences to support the organization’s upcoming Ella/Her Project. Through the Ella/Her Project, the organization seeks to reduce the prevalence of HIV among Black and Latina women in North Carolina through digital outreach, community education, and culturally competent provider training. The Ella/Her Project will be supported with funding through Gilead Sciences’ Zeroing In ​​— Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, which seeks to provide support to organizations whose programs align with established international and country-specific ‘Ending the HIV Epidemic’ (“EHE”) goals. 

Black women and Latina women are particularly in need of information related to HIV prevention, treatment, and care, given the disproportionately high rates of HIV transmission among both communities. HIV outreach efforts historically have prioritized other vulnerable communities, such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals, while mostly leaving out the needs of Black and Latina women.  The Ella/Her Project will work to reduce the prevalence of HIV specifically among Black and Latina women in North Carolina through digital outreach, community education, and culturally competent provider training, with a special focus on addressing HIV and other forms of stigma within these communities. 

“We are very enthusiastic about Gilead’s support of this project, one that we feel is incredibly important and in many ways overdue. What we know is that only about 6 percent of active PrEP users or all people receiving HIV prevention treatment are cisgender women. Cisgender women have long been underserved by traditional HIV service organizations in North Carolina and have not been a focus in terms of prevention efforts by providers. We want to work with medical providers to ensure that the best possible treatment is known and available to everyone.” says Janeen Gingrich, interim executive director of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network.

To support the Ella/Her Project, the North Carolina AIDS Action Network will be partnering with Latinos in the South and the Southern AIDS Coalition. Latinos in the South is a program coordinated by the Latino Commission on AIDS that aims to build local leadership, develop networks and coalitions, enhance knowledge and cultural competency, and spur actions to address the needs of the emerging Latino/Hispanic populations in the Deep South. The Southern AIDS Coalition is a network of AIDS service organizations working to end the HIV and STD epidemic in the Deep South. 

Latina women in North Carolina now contract HIV at rates 3.6 times higher than the broader female population,” says Judith Montenegro, program director at the Latinos in the South. “Our goal is to shift stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs about HIV among Latina women living throughout North Carolina, and particularly those in rural parts of the state. Through this partnership, we intend to equip healthcare providers in North Carolina with the cultural competence needed to talk with Latina women about the biomedical prevention tools that are available for HIV.”

“There is a very clear and significant disparity in who is contracting and being diagnosed with HIV,” says Dafina Ward, executive director of the Southern AIDS Coalition. “Black women in North Carolina contract HIV at rates 13.9 times higher than the broader female population. This is absolutely not acceptable. We won’t end the disproportionate impact of HIV on Black women without addressing stigma–in both policy and practice.”

It is also quite noteworthy that Black and Latina transgender women are disproportionately impacted by HIV, as they account for the majority of new HIV diagnoses among transgender people. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/transgender/hiv-diagnoses.html). Outreach to all of these communities is critical to ending the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

Advocates are hopeful that the Ella/Her Project will help to provide more tailored HIV outreach efforts for Black and Latina women in the state and will work to ensure that Black and Latina women will not be left behind in current statewide efforts to end the epidemic in North Carolina.

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About The North Carolina AIDS Action Network: The North Carolina AIDS Action Network improves the lives of people living with HIV & hepatitis and affected communities through outreach and public education, policy advocacy, and community-building to increase visibility and mutual support of people living with HIV & hepatitis throughout the state of North Carolina. For more information, please visit www.ncaan.org.

About Latinos in the South: Latinos in the South is a regional program of the Latino Commission on AIDS that aims to build local leadership, develop networks and coalitions, enhance knowledge and cultural competency, and spur actions to address the health needs of the emerging Hispanic/Latinx communities in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The program accomplishes these goals through capacity building, community organizing, leadership development, and networking initiatives, with a focus on community-based participatory research and information dissemination. For more information, please visit www.latinodeepsouth.org.

About the Southern AIDS Coalition: The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) is a non-partisan coalition of government, community, and business leaders working alongside thousands of people living with HIV and our allies to end the HIV epidemic in the South. We do this through public health advocacy; capacity building assistance; PLHIV leadership development; research and evaluation; and strategic grantmaking. To learn more or to join us, visit www.southernaidscoalition.org.

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