Future Uncertain for City’s Sole Black HIV Prevention Center
- Gay and transgender African American men may have one less place to turn to for HIV screening and prevention, reports Gay City News.
The Brooklyn-based Gay Men of African Descent organization is the only group in the city that concentrates on HIV prevention among black LGBT men. However, financial difficulties may shut down this 26-year-old group. Top staff members have skipped paychecks and HIV tests and other screening services have dwindled. The decrease in financial support for GMAD shines some light on the recent shifts in government funding for HIV prevention. Board chair Zachary Jones sums it up as indifference on the part of the government.
Federal funding for HIV prevention has been flat at just under $1 billion a year since 2007. The city and state have cut HIV prevention dollars. Government funders are increasingly spending their cash on HIV testing and treating those who are positive. The theory is that people who learn they are positive will change their behavior to avoid infecting others and, with treatment, they will be less infectious so if they do have unsafe sex, they will be less likely to infect others.
“Unfortunately, it appears that as HIV/AIDS… is not the priority of the local or state governments, therefore we have not been refunded in a lot of areas,” said Jones who added that the board was planning a number of fundraising strategies and events.