April 12, 2018 by In The Press, News

Southern AIDS Coalition to Partner with Six Organizations to Pilot HIV-Related Stigma Reduction Interventions Across the U.S. South

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Marvin Anderson ([email protected])

Southern AIDS Coalition to Partner with Six Organizations to
Pilot HIV-Related Stigma Reduction Interventions Across the U.S. South

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. April 12, 2018 — The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) announced today the first phase of its work as a Gilead COMPASS Initiative™ coordinating center, which launched in December of 2017. Starting in May, the organization will begin piloting multiple HIV-related stigma reduction interventions, including their own LEAD (Leadership, Education, and Advocacy Development) Academy, a health promotion intervention designed to combat stigma by training people living with HIV to be leaders, educators, and advocates in their communities. SAC will work with the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research at Duke University to rigorously evaluate the interventions.

The interventions will be piloted in the southern United States, where the HIV epidemic is among the worst in the nation, from inner-city Nashville to suburban Florida to Alabama’s rural Black Belt. SAC will partner with the following organizations for this first round of piloted interventions:

“Addressing stigma in all its forms –from our lawmakers, our providers, our communities, and even within ourselves—is essential to improving the health of people living with HIV and, ultimately, ending the HIV epidemic in the South,” said Nic Carlisle, Executive Director of the Southern AIDS Coalition. “We look forward to working with these organizations on the ground to continue assisting those most impacted by HIV and AIDS.”

The partner organizations recently convened in Birmingham, AL, in February to learn more about the interventions and their evaluation. Speaking at the conclusion of the convening, Thomas Gooch, Prevention Coordinator with Street Works, expressed optimism about the interventions. “The information that was shared about the interventions will benefit our clients by empowering them to be voices within their own communities and social settings” said Gooch. “Our team is excited to see our clients empowered with capacity and confidence to raise their voices.”

The project is funded by Gilead Sciences through the Gilead COMPASS (COMmitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States) Initiative™, an unprecedented $100 million investment over 10 years to support organizations working to end the HIV epidemic in the Southern United States. “Gilead’s goal is to help end HIV with a strategic emphasis on addressing demographic and geographic disparities,” said Gregg Alton, Executive Vice President of Corporate and Medical Affairs at Gilead Sciences. “Gilead believes that coordinating with community-based organizations and academic institutions to help deliver education and awareness to those who need it is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. We are pleased to expand our support to innovative organizations, like the Southern AIDS Coalition that work to improve the lives of people living with or at risk for HIV every day.”

For the next phase of the project, SAC will begin funding community-based organizations to implement interventions that effectively address HIV-related stigma in their own communities. The organization expects to release a request for proposals in August 2018.

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About the Southern AIDS Coalition: SAC is a non-partisan coalition of government, community, and business leaders working alongside thousands of individual members to end the HIV epidemic in the South. We do this through public health advocacy; capacity building assistance and education; research and evaluation; and strategic grantmaking. To learn more or to join us, visit www.southernaidscoalition.org.