Delaware: AIDS Center Runs on Sense of Kinship
May 5, 2004
The Beautiful Gate Outreach Center, a nonprofit run out of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church annex, reaches one of Delaware's hardest-hit HIV/AIDS populations: Wilmington's black community. State statistics show that one in 50 black Delawareans has HIV and two-thirds of all AIDS cases reported in the state since 1981 -- 2,130 cases -- are among black people.
Executive Director Renee Beaman founded Beautiful Gate in 2001 to turn those numbers around. The center has gradually grown to a full-time staff of two, 15 part-timers and about 25 volunteers. Working with a meager annual budget of $175,000, the organization occupies rooms that must be emptied each weekend so they can be used for Sunday school classes.
Yet Beautiful Gate is one of Delaware's most effective AIDS agencies, according to Mawuna Gardesey, the state's minority health director. Fueled by faith, passion and a sense of kinship with those affected by HIV/AIDS, the nonprofit consistently outperforms other more established organizations -- and the state -- in testing, counseling and outreach, Gardesey said. Last year, Beautiful Gate provided more than 500 HIV tests and was the first community organization in the state to offer the OraQuick rapid HIV blood test in addition to two-week saliva tests.
Delaware is working to lessen the impact of HIV on minority communities. State health officials said $8 million in federal funds will be spent to fight HIV/AIDS this fiscal year, along with $2.4 million in state funds. A quarter of the federal money must be used for prevention, and 65 percent of that must go to minority prevention. The state provided Beautiful Gate $45,000 this year for prevention services.
05.01.04; Laura Ungar
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.