HIV/AIDS: An ongoing health crisis
for Georgia’s LGBT community
Over 50,000 Georgians are living with HIV and an average of 3,000 are newly diagnosed each year. Our state ranks 6th for the total number of people living with HIV, 2nd among states in rate of new HIV diagnoses, and 3rd in people living with an AIDS diagnosis as of 2013.
Georgia’s HIV epidemic disproportionately affects many groups within the LGBT community, especially gay and bisexual men and transgender women. African-American gay and bisexual men and transgender women experience the highest risk for HIV in our LGBT community. A recent Emory University study found that by the time they turn 30, 60% of black gay and bisexual men in Atlanta will become infected with HIV. The same study noted that racial disparities in new HIV infections are not related to risk behavior but rather structural inequalities like unequal housing and healthcare access.
People living with HIV and communities at risk for HIV need access to prevention and care resources, and Georgia Equality is committed to advocacy on their behalf at the federal, state and local level. Through the Georgia HIV Advocacy Network, the Youth HIV Policy Advisors’ Program and World AIDS Day- Atlanta activities, our goal is to equip our elected officials and community leaders with the tools to end HIV in our lifetime.
Affordable Care Act Resources for LGBT people and people living with HIV/AIDS
Georgia Equality and Georgians for a Healthy Future have been partnering over the past couple of years to raise awareness and to increase advocacy around implementation of the Affordable Care Act among Georgia’s LGBT community. As part of this collaboration, we, along with The Health Initiative, have developed a new set of fact sheets!
Georgia Equality created the Georgia HIV Advocacy Network in 2009. This statewide network of service providers and citizens advocates for HIV policy initiatives on both a state and county level through policy analysis, advocacy training and coordinated community activities.
Click here to join the Georgia HIV Advocacy Network email list. You will receive regular communication and up-to-date information about emerging policy issues that affect the lives of people living with and at risk for HIV in Georgia.
Georgia Equality’s Youth HIV Policy Advisors’ Program
In response to high and increasing HIV rates among youth in Atlanta, Georgia Equality launched the Youth HIV Policy Advisors Program in April of 2015. This program matches selected elected officials with youth advocates who will serve as their Special Advisors on Youth HIV. Youth will work one-on-one with policymakers to address policy barriers to HIV prevention. The program offers an extensive training series to youth advocates throughout the summer and involves three educational sessions with elected officials and community leaders October-December. It concludes on World AIDS Day- December 1st- with the second annual World AIDS Day- Atlanta Policy & Action Luncheon where youth will announce their 2016 Youth HIV Prevention & Care Policy Agenda.
Youth HIV Policy Advisors must meet the following criteria to be considered for acceptance into this program:
- Must be 30 years of age or younger
- Must have been diagnosed with HIV
- Must be willing to discuss HIV positive status with elected officials and the media
- Must reside in Metro Atlanta
- Must be able to fulfill all program requirements
Online applications for the 2016 Youth HIV Policy Advisors’ Program will open on March 1, 2016.
CAEAR Coalition (Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief): www.caear.org
Information on how to advocate for increased federal funding for Ryan White Programs
NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors): www.nastad.org
Information on policy related to HIV programs for state public health staff
HIV Prevention Justice: www.preventionjustice.org
Information on the national and international movement to bridge HIV prevention and social justice
The Social Security and Disability Resource Center: www.ssdrc.com
Informational website that provides answers to questions about how to apply for disability, how to appeal a claim in the event of a denial, how to navigate the federal system, and how to avoid certain mistakes that are commonly made by applicants. The site’s author is a former disability examiner for the social security administration. This page has information specific to HIV/AIDS: www.ssdrc.com/hiv.html