WASHINGTON - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today an expansion of its successful Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), a partnership of leading national organizations designed to increase HIV prevention efforts. CDC is increasing the effort’s funding from $10 million to $16 million over six years and broadening its scope to include eight additional organizations to help fight HIV among African-Americans, Latinos, and gay and bisexual men – the populations hardest hit by HIV.
When launched in 2009, the initiative brought together some of the nation’s foremost African-American organizations to intensify HIV prevention efforts in black communities, since African-Americans are the racial group that bears the heaviest burden of HIV in the United States.
Today’s announcement expands AAALI to include three Latino organizations and five additional African-American organizations, two of which focus specifically on black gay and bisexual men. The effort also directly supports the priorities identified in President Obama’s recently released National HIV/AIDS Strategy to focus on populations most affected by HIV.
Within its first year, AAALI partners coordinated nearly 1,400 outreach events, engaged nearly 400 affiliates across the United States in prevention activities and reached millions more with HIV prevention messages through conferences, advertisements and media stories.
“The AAALI initiative demonstrates the power of partnerships. In just one year, these leading organizations have stepped up and helped make remarkable inroads in delivering HIV prevention and awareness to communities at greatest risk,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “We want to move quickly to replicate our initial success so we can not only do more but reach further into more communities severely affected by this disease.”
The expanded initiative represents CDC’s ongoing commitment to increase access to HIV prevention for those who are most vulnerable to this disease. CDC estimates that about 56,000 Americans become newly infected with HIV every year – one new infection every 9 ½ minutes.
HIV takes the greatest toll among African-American and Latino men and women and gay and bisexual men of all races. The rate of new infections among blacks is seven times the rate of whites. Among Hispanics, the rate of new HIV infections is three times that of whites. And according to a recent CDC analysis, while men who have sex with men (MSM) make up only 4 percent of males aged 13 and older in this country, the HIV diagnosis rate in this population is at least 40 times that of other men.
“This expansion helps us respond to the urgent need to reach communities of color and gay and bisexual men with critical HIV prevention services,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “AAALI partners have strong links to their communities and are committed to using these resources to help us bring an end to this epidemic.”
The AAALI organizations represent a wide range of sectors from civic and business to media and education and were chosen based on their demonstrated credibility, influence and reach at the national, regional and local levels. While many of these organizations have longstanding commitments to fighting HIV in their communities, the initiative provides the critical funding to allow each group to make HIV prevention a core component of its day-to-day activities.
The initiative’s participants include*:
· 100 Black Men of America (A)
· American Urban Radio Networks (A)
· Aspira Association (L)
· Black Men's Xchange (A, G&B)
· Black Women's Health Imperative (A)
· Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (A)
· Farmworker Justice (L)
· International Federation of Black Prides (A, G&B)
· National Action Network (A)
· National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (A)
· National Council of Negro Women (A)
· National Hispanic Council on Aging (L)
· National Medical Association (A)
· National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation (A)
· National Organization of Black County Officials (A)
· National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (A)
· National Urban League (A)
· Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority (A)
· Southern Christian Leadership Foundation (A)
The Leadership Initiative is part of Act Against AIDS, CDC’s nationwide campaign launched last year in partnership with the White House, which aims to increase HIV awareness among all Americans. The campaign includes a national education component and awareness efforts specifically tailored to African-American men and women, Latino men and women and gay and bisexual men of all races. For more information, visit www.actagainstaids.org or www.cdc.gov/hiv.