AIDS Groups Expand Services to Other Sufferers
December 28, 2004
Nationwide, organizations that provide food, housing, legal aid, medical treatment and other assistance to HIV/AIDS patients have begun diversifying, helping people with other diseases such as Parkinson's, cancer and Alzheimer's.Adapted from:
AIDS groups say their agencies have a moral imperative to share expertise developed during two decades of caring for AIDS patients. Plus, many must diversify to survive in an era of shrinking AIDS funding and fading interest among donors at a time when AIDS deaths are falling and many people with HIV are living longer.
Some AIDS activists, however, worry that diversification will spread organizations too thin, with 40,000 new HIV cases occurring annually and 18,000 AIDS patients dying every year in the United States.
"There is an awful lot of donor fatigue on AIDS," said Mike Smith, executive director of the AIDS Emergency Fund in San Francisco. The group expanded to include breast cancer patients a few years ago and has since received tens of thousands of dollars from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Food & Friends, a Washington organization, also expanded its clientele. Now, 40 percent of those receiving food from the agency have illnesses other than HIV/AIDS. AIDS Foundation Houston offers housing, substance-abuse treatment and other help to people with other infectious diseases and diabetes. New York's Latino Commission on AIDS currently helps Latino immigrants without AIDS apply for asylum. Atlanta's Project Open Hand, in addition to delivering food to AIDS patients, manages eight senior centers and delivers food to the elderly.
Some groups have turned their attention abroad. The Children Affected by AIDS Foundation in Los Angeles expects that next year the portion of its budget going to international AIDS initiatives will jump from 10 percent to 25 percent, according to Executive Director Catherine Brown. "You can't be in pediatric HIV/AIDS and have that as your mission and ignore what's going on internationally," she said.
12.27.04; Jacqueline L. Salmon
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.