September 20, 2012
Positive Impact, an agency in Georgia that provides culturally competent mental health, HIV prevention outreach, and other services to gay and bisexual men as well as individuals affected by HIV, received no funding from the state in 2012. As a result, the agency will have to lay off five part-time staff, discontinue outreach projects in gay bars and sex clubs, cut a program that helped HIV-infected persons deal with relationship issues, and cut back on testing for straight men and African-American women. The agency had requested $181,629 in a bid for a contract for testing and community mobilization to stop the spread of HIV. Positive Impact submitted a protest on August 20, which was denied by the state. Danny Sprouse, prevention director of the group, noted that after submitting the bid, the agency learned that the state's focus was on prevention, as there was no money for community mobilization.
Other agencies that formerly received state funding also lost funding this year, including: SisterLove, Inc., an agency that works to prevent HIV among African American women and assists persons living with HIV; the AIS Research Consortium of Atlanta; and National AIDS Education & Service for Minorities (NAESM). NAESM serves gay and bisexual men, and African American women. Rudy Carn of NAESM questioned why the entire $800,000 of state funds has not been distributed. The total amount distributed was $647,380, leaving $152,620. NAESM also filed a protest with the state, but has not heard back.
Carn commented that the state is not following the epidemic with its funding. In Georgia, the groups hardest hit by HIV are black gay and bisexual men, white gay and bisexual men, and AfricanAmerican women; however, many agencies that serve these groups received no state funding.