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Action = Life
Fighting AIDS in Our Own Back Yard

By Jeff Graham

May/June 2004

Jeff Graham

For the first time in years, metro Atlanta has received a significant decrease in our federal AIDS funding. The story is disturbing enough. Unfortunately, it is only part of the full picture of the challenges facing people with HIV and their advocates here in the South. A loss of funding of under half a million dollars may not seem significant at first, but when combined with the already weak infrastructure of services available throughout the region, the ripple effect of decreased funding can be profound.

Every day, we live with the reality of HIV in the South and know first-hand the struggles that lie ahead. To get the full picture, it's important to look at the broad range of issues that complicate our ability to adequately address the epidemic in our own back yard.


Funding


Rapid Increase in Reported AIDS Cases


Poor Health Infrastructure


Lack of Health Insurance

Fighting AIDS in Our Own Back Yard


Changing Demographics


Racial Disparity


Lack of Affordable Housing


Socioeconomic Factors

These statistics can be found in the Southern States AIDS Manifesto, available online through the Southern States AIDS Coalition (www.southernaidscoalition.org).


Taking Action

You can take action on this issue today by supporting efforts to secure a special appropriation. Information can be found on the AIDS Survival Project Web site about the letter-writing campaign urging Georgia Representative Sanford Bishop to introduce this legislation in the 2005 federal budget. You can also take action by recognizing the need to fully support efforts to secure additional funding for our state AIDS Drug Assistance Program, Grady Health System and local programs such as the Fulton County Human Services Department. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you must realize the crucial role that talking about these issues has. If our churches, community groups, friends and family do not know the challenges we face, we will never be able to build the support necessary to fully fight the impact of the disease spreading like kudzu through everyone's back yard.




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