AIDS United Announces $1 Million Investment in Grants to Help HIV-Positive People Stay in Care


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Ronald Valdiserri

Dr. Ronald Valdiserri

AIDS United Exit Disclaimer, a national organization dedicated to ending the AIDS epidemic in the United States, recently announced $1 million in grants Exit Disclaimer to seven organizations from diverse communities across the U.S. to help define and expand programs that help keep HIV-positive people in care and on treatment. The grants are part of a new $4 million multi-year Retention in Care Initiative supported by the MAC AIDS Fund Exit Disclaimer.

AIDS United Logo“Over the next three years, our grantees will be developing innovative and intensive ways to work with people living with HIV/AIDS in their communities and ensure they are consistently retained in the life-saving care they need,” said Mr. Michael Kaplan, AIDS United President and CEO.

Retention in care is a critical part of the “treatment cascade”—the continuum of care from diagnosis of HIV infection and active linkage to care, to initiation of treatment and treatment adherence to achieve eventual viral suppression—meaning no detectable HIV in the blood.

Despite the significant advantages of early HIV diagnosis and treatment—both for people living with HIV infection as well as for community prevention efforts—substantial social and structural barriers often impede initial and continued access to care for people living with HIV. In fact, as discussed in prior posts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [PDF 672KB] estimates that of the 1.1 million individuals living with HIV in the U.S., only 37% are retained in HIV care and only 25% reach the desired goal of viral suppression, which means that the virus is under control at a level that keeps people healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

AIDS United made awards to programs serving highly marginalized, underserved populations at high risk for HIV infection and for dropping out of care. These include programs seeking to increase retention in HIV treatment among homeless and substance-using individuals in the Bronx, highly impoverished rural and urban African American men and women in Alabama, and transgendered individuals in Philadelphia.

The Stratey in Action. Communities respond to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy“By supporting community-specific strategies to keep people in care, the Retention in Care Initiative helps advance two pillars of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS and reducing new [HIV] infections. By supporting programs that deal directly with the most marginalized, underserved people who are at the highest risk of infection, this partnership exemplifies our mission at the MAC AIDS Fund,” said Ms. Nancy Mahon, Esq., Executive Director of the MAC AIDS Fund Exit Disclaimer (Ms. Mahon also serves as the Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS).

This is a great example of the way many sectors of society are collaborating to pursue the priorities of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). Efforts such as this will help ensure that people living with HIV (PLWH) have access to care, remain in care and on treatment and will increase the proportion of PLWH who achieve and maintain viral suppression which is critical to improving their health and realizing the full potential prevention benefits of treatment as well as achieving the goals of the NHAS. By concentrating on especially vulnerable populations, these programmatic efforts also help to reduce HIV-related disparities in diagnosis, treatment and care.

(This post is part of the ‘Strategy In Action’ series of occasional posts about how the NHAS is being implemented by non-federal partners in states and communities around the country.)


  1. In all of the differentiated, difficult-to-reach populations, we always get the usual suspects. How many ways can you spell poverty. Some of this goes to stereotypes as well. Who gets what goes hand-in-hand with who lives where. There’s one group that never makes the news, never gets noticed, and seems to be an embarrassment to everyone. They can’t even get a mention here. Look at the numbers. Boys who are out there doing survival sex street-based sex work are more mobile than anyone knows. You can’t viably pin them down to belonging to a “place.” They might brush up against treatment for STDs but other than that, they go to a lot of work to stay off the grid. Why? Because they will be busted and incarcerated and punished. I would argue that very few resources are spent in getting them into care let alone keeping them there. They are the invisible. Mainstream culture does not see them, or target them for anything outside of what is punitive. We do not see them because we do not want to rock the boat in terms of the fantasies we cling to about the lives children really live. Children don’t have sex. And they certainly don’t sell it.

    But they do.

    Until we are able to reach them, and include then in this mythical place where people are actually cared for, we will continue to fail the rest of us as well. A virus has no capacity for a moral code. I often think, either do we.

  2. Boys whose lives have been changed forever in the sex trade in boys in the USA need SAFE HOUSES so they can access and commit to the rigorous medical regimes treating their HIV and AIDS-defining infections and diseases.

    It is extraordinarily difficult for a boy servicing the sex trade in the USA to access and commit to medical care whilst he is homeless.

    An AIDS-Free Generation is not possible in the USA without DOING something to alleviate the appalling conditions that permit the sex trade in boys to flourish in the USA.

    Please support the survivors, who are reaching out to all their peers left behind and attempting to create safe places for them to access appropriate and consistent treatment and trauma programs.

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