Who We Are


Our mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the South through (1) intersectional advocacy, (2) capacity building assistance and education, (3) research and evaluation, and (4) strategic grantmaking.

The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) is a non-partisan coalition of government, community, and business leaders working alongside thousands of individual members to prevent new transmissions and build a better South for people living with HIV. Since 2001, we have promoted accessible and high-quality systems of HIV prevention and care across sixteen southern states and the District of Columbia. From Ryan White reauthorization to targeted CDC investments to HOPWA modernization, we have garnered national attention and secured critical resources for the South. We attribute our success to the synergy that results when PLHIV and their allies from all sectors work together to achieve a more coordinated response to the epidemic.


The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) formed in 2001 as a response to the HIV and AIDS state of emergency in the southern United States.

To address the dire need in the South, state health department leaders, community-based partners, and people living with HIV (PLHIV) banded together to advocate for change in the adequacy of funding, prevention, treatment, services, and housing provided in the South. After forming in 2001, the group worked collectively to assemble a number of case studies and released the first-ever Southern States Manifesto in 2002. These case studies were presented nationwide, garnering much-needed attention from the media, policymakers, and legislators.

Historically, SAC worked to modernize the Ryan White Care Act to create more equitable funding for southern states. After three years of meetings, press conferences, and congressional hearings, H.R. 6143 was passed in 2006. The reauthorization included many significant changes including modifying the distribution formula from cumulative AIDS data to actual living HIV and AIDS cases, redirecting an approximate $30 million to the South.

Since this victory, SAC’s advocacy efforts around equitable and increased funding have continued laying the groundwork for the more recent announcement of the Care and Prevention in the United States (CAPUS) funding in 2012. This new funding initiative, dedicated to reducing HIV and AIDS-related morbidity and mortality among racial and ethnic minorities living in the United States, was a result of the powerful, well-organized advocacy of SAC and our vital partners in the HIV-community including the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative (SASI), the 30 for 30 Campaign, the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), and many others.


We envision a better South for people living with HIV, one where every person has access to high-quality health care and essential support services, free from stigma and discrimination. We also envision a South where every person understands his or her risk for HIV transmission, receives routine screening, and has access to a full range of prevention interventions and harm reduction services.

CBA & Education
Intersectional Advocacy
Research & Evaluation
Strategic Grantmaking



Mardrequs Harris
Senior Manager, Capacity Building Assistance
Marvin Anderson
Communications Manager
Gina Brown, RSW
Community Engagement Manager
Aquarius Gilmer
Senior Manager, Government Affairs & Advocacy
Amelia Jones
Dafina Ward, JD
Senior Manager, Grant Operations & Strategy
Nic Carlisle, JD
Executive Director


Kathie Hiers – Chair

AIDS Alabama

Birmingham, AL

Shelley Lucas – Vice Chair

Texas Department of State Health Services

Austin, TX

Bambi Gaddist – Secretary

Joseph H. Neal Wellness Center

Columbia, SC

Claude Martin – Treasurer

Acadiana Cares

Lafayette, LA

Mary Elizabeth Marr  – Development

Thrive Alabama

Huntsville, AL

Carolyn McAllaster – Public Policy

Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative

Durham, NC

Kelly Young – Governance

AIDS Foundation Houston

Houston, TX

Jay Adams

West Virginia Ryan White Part B

Wheeler, WV

Samuel Burgess

Louisiana Department of Health

New Orleans, LA

Joaquin Carcaño

Latino Commission on AIDS

Chapel Hill, NC

Johanna Haynes


Myrtle Beach, SC

Joseph Interrante

Nashville CARES

Nashville, TN

Angela Johnson


Washington, DC

Robin Lewy

Rural Women’s Health Project

Gainesville, FL

Butch McKay


Fort Walton Beach, FL

Valerie Mincey


Panama City, FL

Linda Dixon Rigsby

Mississippi Center for Justice

Jackson, MS

Lee Storrow

North Carolina AIDS Action Network

Raleigh, NC

Cathalene Teahan

Georgia AIDS Coalition

Snellville, GA

Reginald Vicks


New Orleans, LA

Robin Webb

Mississippi Positive Network

Cleveland, MS