Hi, my name is Cornelius Baker and I am the Senior Policy Advisor at the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition in Washington, DC. On behalf of ViiV Healthcare, I’d like to introduce you to their Positive Action U.S. Southern Initiative – a collaborative, community-focused programme that supports HIV programmes and services for underserved populations in the Southern region of the United States.
The National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition is proud to be among the advocacy organisations that consulted with ViiV Healthcare as they developed the Positive Action U.S. Southern Initiative. In this role, we offered our suggestions on how the programme could help communities to develop their capacity in prevention, care and treatment advocacy, and in providing services to their constituents. We also helped to review the first round of grant applicants.
This effort to support the HIV community in the Southern United States is timely, and it’s urgent. Data about the HIV epidemic in the U.S. show that it is escalating in the South. In rural and urban communities alike, the South has a disproportionate number of individuals that are impacted by the virus. Because of this, the Positive Action U.S. Southern Initiative reflects the priorities of the United States’ National HIV/AIDS strategy – it focuses on reducing disparities in HIV and directing resources to where the need is the greatest.
“I think that there are several impacts that the Southern Initiative that ViiV has created will have. First, through its funding and resources it helps make organisations stronger so that they can better respond to the needs of their communities. I think also through its networking, through its creating programmes and meetings where these leaders, where these groups that are funded, come together, is building a stronger coalition in the South so that these organisations are sharing information with each other, which will also make them stronger. I think that the other thing - and this is really, really important – is that every dollar helps to save a life. Every single one of these dollars is an investment in the people who live in those communities, and it will help them to live longer and more productively, and that should never ever be forgotten as the core of what all of this work does.”
— Cornelius Baker, Senior Policy Advisor, National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition
Senior Policy Advisor, National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition
Below is an example of one of the Positive Action U.S. Southern Initiative programmes: Union Mission
Hi, my name is Letitia Robinson and I am the Vice President of Housing Services for Union Mission – a homeless service agency in Savannah, Georgia. At Union Mission, we approach homelessness as a multidimensional issue. The people who come to us need shelter, of course, but they have additional needs as well – needs such as employment, counselling services and healthcare. Meeting those needs, in addition to providing a range of housing facilities, is central to our mission to end and prevent homelessness in the greater Savannah area.
Today I am pleased to show you how, with the help of the Positive Action U.S. Southern Initiative, we have developed our Healthy Living Educational Adherence Programme for homeless and low-income people living with HIV/AIDS in and around Savannah. I will do this along with my colleague, Ayana Eady-Patterson, the Social Services Coordinator for Housing Services here at Union Mission.
Vice President of Housing Services for Union Mission