HIV ORGANIZATIONS PLEA FOR AID FOR PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. September 28, 2017:

Now, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands need help too. Hurricane Maria has demolished homes and facilities across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, leaving much of the islands without power or water. The destruction in these states and U.S. territories demands a rapid response from our community. In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the HIV Hurricane Relief Effort was established to rapidly provide grants to support organizations serving the needs of people living with and affected by HIV in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

Today, we are expanding the scope of our efforts to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. So, we are calling on all our friends and supporters – individuals and organizations – to contribute to the HIV Hurricane Relief Effort here.

AIDS United established the HIV Hurricane Relief Effort as part of the rapid response arm of the new Southern HIV Impact Fund, a collaborative effort coordinated by Funders Concerned About AIDS with generous support from Gilead Sciences, Ford Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation, and ViiV Healthcare. Gilead Sciences has also made an additional $1 million available to the Fund to support immediate assistance to areas affected by the storms. NMAC is partnering with AIDS United by appointing an HIV Hurricane Relief Advisory Panel made up of constituents from the affected regions to identify priority emergency needs for the HIV communities in each area.

Our people and HIV service organizations are in desperate need. Since the announcement of the hurricane relief effort at the U.S. Conference on AIDS, applications have been received from HIV organizations in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico describing the need for millions and millions of dollars to address their emergencies. Applications are being reviewed weekly and funds are being dispersed quickly. Grants have covered everything from housing to food as well as medications and medical care.

The demand for help will soon outstrip current available funds. We don’t need to tell you that this assistance will be the difference between life and death for thousands of people living with HIV in the affected areas. There is no time to lose. Organizations, businesses, and individuals can make donations to the HIV Hurricane Relief Effort here.

Questions about the fund should be sent to Melanie Powers, Program Manager at AIDS United, at mpowers@aidsunited.org. The communities affected by this year’s hurricanes are part of the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic of HIV. In 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100,000 people with HIV lived in Florida, more than 77,000 in Texas, nearly 19,000 in Louisiana, and more than 17,000 in Puerto Rico.

We must do all we can to help. Now!

Jesse Milan, Jr.       Murray C. Penner        David C. Harvey         Paul Kawata           Michael Ruppal
President, CEO       Executive Director       Executive Director      Executive Director  Executive Director
AIDS United            NASTAD                      National Coalition of   NMAC                     The AIDS Institute
STD Directors

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