The Atlanta AIDS Fund (AAF) is a partnership between the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Jeffrey Fashion Cares and the Allen Thornell HIV Care and Service Fund. Created in 1991, AAF supports metro Atlanta’s HIV/AIDS advocacy, prevention education and service efforts through funding and leadership. Approximately $11 million in grants have been awarded through Atlanta AIDS Fund since its inception and the 2019 allocation will be approximately $320,000. While we have progressed in treating the disease, challenges still persist.
Here are 3 ways to make a significant impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS:
#1 – BE INFORMED. Review the latest statistics for HIV/AIDS in the greater Atlanta area.
- Globally, nearly 37 million people are living with HIV. Only 18.2 million are on antiretroviral therapy.
- Georgia ranks #2 in the nation for new HIV diagnosis, second to the District of Columbia.
- Fulton County ranks #1 in the state for the highest incidence HIV/AIDS per capita.
- Highest incidence of new infections are among people of color, heterosexual women, the poor, homeless, and incarcerated; those with comorbid health conditions, those who have unprotected sex and/or use drugs. Infections are more likely to progress to AIDS because these communities historically have little or no access to health care.
- 1 in 51 Georgians will become HIV infected.
#2 – TALK TO A TEEN. Having serious conversations with young adults can be uncomfortable at times. You may not know what to say or how to say it. But, some conversations, such as building positive relationships, safe sexual practices, and where to go should you need help are too important to ignore. HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention is one of those conversations.
Teens need to be aware of the disease and how it spreads. Before you talk with your child, make sure you have the facts:
- Talk to your healthcare provider. Keep in mind that local, free healthcare clinics often have much more information on STDs, such as HIV/AIDS. They also have staff on-hand who can talk with your teen about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the community.
- Timing is important. You want your teen to feel comfortable. Pick a neutral setting: your teen’s bedroom, over hot chocolate or ice cream, or anywhere you are unlikely to be interrupted.
- Your words set the tone. Take time to consider the best way to approach the talk. Do you get straight to the point or work your way into the topic? That will depend largely on communication styles. The most important point is to be honest – don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and feelings on the subject.
- Be open to listening. You want to make sure you can thoughtfully consider and respond to questions. This is a great way to keep the conversation going: if there is something you are not familiar with, take time to research the answer together and follow up.
- Find teachable moments. Moments in daily life are a great way to naturally bring up the topic. Making sure your teen is aware of where to find information on the subject is another way to engage them
#3 – SIGN-UP TO LEAD. There are several non-profits in the greater Atlanta area who offer HIV/AIDS programming and are actively looking for board, committee, fundraising support. If you are interested in a leadership position and would like to be connected, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.