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August 30, 2014

Action against AIDS: Diversity of cases, but few funding sources

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Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:30 pm | Updated: 11:15 am, Mon Jul 7, 2014.

Denise Meadows remembers the first time she realized HIV was a problem in Alabama. As the executive director at Hobson City’s Health Services Center, Meadows oversees the treatment of more than 500 HIV patients across five clinics and 14 counties in northeastern Alabama.

Every week, she saw them: men, women, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers. Some were black, others white. Some were humble. Some were well-educated community leaders. Others had never left Calhoun County.

“You’d just be shocked at the diversity of the people,” Meadows said. “I realized there are people that looked just like me, just like you.”

The area’s high poverty levels, coupled with the stigma that comes with being HIV-positive, has made Alabama a hotbed for the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In 2010, the Kaiser Foundation ranked Alabama 15th nationally in number of HIV deaths, with 153. In 2011, it ranked Alabama 14th nationally in HIV diagnosis rate, with 20.9 people diagnosed for every 100,000 people.

Despite the region’s large number of cases, Alabama receives a disproportionately small amount of federal funding for HIV/AIDS programs. According to data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Alabama received $42.6 million — 1.4 percent of federal HIV/AIDS funding — in the 2013 fiscal year, ranking it 20th in the nation.

“The rates are the highest in the most conservative places,” Meadows said. “People aren’t talking about it, and they may not know their status. Really, HIV is an indicator of other societal issues.

“If you don’t have insurance, and you don’t have something wrong, you’re not going to get up to go to the doctor,” Meadows continued, “because you don’t know how you’re going to pay for it, you don’t know where you’re going to get the gas money.”

One program where Alabama receives a smaller amount of federal funding is Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, or HOPWA. It is the only federal program designed to provide safe, stable housing for low-income HIV/AIDS patients.

On June 10, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass an amendment that would have increased HOPWA funding by $29.1 million. Instead, the funding will be cut to $305.5 million from its 2014 level of $330 million.

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile, was one of two members of Alabama’s House delegation who voted for the amendment. Byrne said he voted for it because of his district’s high number of HIV cases; Mobile County ranks second in the state with 1,926 prevalent HIV cases and 3,022 total cases through March 31, 2014.

Byrne said federal and state legislators should do a better job of addressing the issue.

“I don’t know if it’s a money issue, but I think we could do a better job,” Byrne said. “You would think we could make better decisions to avoid the behaviors that make you more susceptible to AIDS.”

Funding dilemma

Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama, described the cut in funding to HOPWA as potentially devastating for Alabama. In the 2014 fiscal year, Alabama saw roughly $4 million in funding from competitive and formula-based grants, ranking Alabama 16th among the states. Hiers said Alabama’s funding will be cut roughly $150,000 during the 2015 fiscal year, which will only aggravate what is already an issue of too little HOPWA funding in the state.

The program allocates money to states and cities based on two grants. In one grant program, which represents 10 percent of the total funding, programs compete for money. In 2014, the state of Alabama received two of these grants for roughly $2 million. If Alabama had not received those grants, it would be ranked 24th in the nation in total HOPWA funding.

The remaining 90 percent of the fund is formula-based. Under the formula, 75 percent of funding is based on the cumulative number of AIDS cases in each state since 1981. The formula excludes HIV cases which, due to advances in medicine, have increased in number as opposed to AIDS. A person diagnosed with HIV will progress to AIDS once they receive certain types of infections or their white blood cell numbers fall below a certain level.

The remaining 25 percent is based on new AIDS cases per year. Only the largest 30 metropolitan areas benefit from this funding; states as a whole are ineligible to receive it. The program’s formula, Hiers said, coupled with the fact the AIDS epidemic did not hit the southeastern U.S. until roughly four years after the initial epidemic, disenfranchises Southern states, which have more rural populations than they do urban ones.

Hiers has been trying to lobby HOPWA officials for 10 years to change the way they allocate their funds based on the number of total living HIV/AIDS cases for each state, which could potentially see Alabama gain up to twice as much funding per year.

“It’s unfair for the South,” Hiers said of the way funding is allocated throughout the U.S. “It’s absolutely crazy for them not to count HIV. The South in general has newer epidemics.”

Ultimately, however, Meadows said the key to slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Alabama is to address the myths and stigmas that surround the disease.

“We can’t make positive change affecting this population without improving several other social factors,” Meadows said. “There’s no cure, but it can definitely be treated.”

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6 comments:

  • joy232 posted at 7:13 pm on Mon, Jul 7, 2014.

    joy232 Posts: 7


    Hi, I work in a communication company I want to share my testimony to the world, my name is Joyce Patrick, i am from united kingdom in Belfast north Ireland, I was a stripper in a club I got effected with HIV due to the nature of my job, In april 15 2013 i was tested positive to HIV, This is not design to convince you but its just a personal health experience . I never taught doctor Kpelede could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his healing herb spell, i have tried almost everything but I couldn’t find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, i always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day i was just browsing on the internet when i came across a great post of !Michelle! who truly said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week through the help of this great powerful healing spell doctor ,I wonder why he is called the great papa Kpelede, i never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and so i did all the things he asked me to do,He ask me to buy some herbs and which I did for my cure,only to see that at the very day which he said i will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and i becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so i went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said i am HIV negative, i am very amazed and happy about the healing doctor Kpelede gave to me from the ancient part of Africa, you can email him now for your own healing too on his email:kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com you can call him any time on +2347038111854
    Randy Scott...

     
  • joy232 posted at 7:13 pm on Mon, Jul 7, 2014.

    joy232 Posts: 7

    my name is Anderson, i want to give almighty praise to Dr Kpelede who help me to cure my HIV/AID, please help me to give thanks to him he is a great man who God send from heaven to save people's life, this man also save the life of my friend who have HIV/AID, please thank this man for me, also if you have any type of problem you can also contact him to help you out on it, he is a wonderful man, his email is kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com contact him now for him to help you too, you can also reach him on phone if you are in his country: kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com you can call him any time on +2347038111854

     
  • joy232 posted at 7:13 pm on Mon, Jul 7, 2014.

    joy232 Posts: 7


    i am mrs Gregory from USA, i never believe that hiv cure is real on till i got in contact with Dr Kpelede, my HIV stated eight years ago, i was even waiting for death because all my money went out for drug, which keep me till today, one day i saw in the interment that HIV cure is out i then email Dr Kpelede, and he prepare the herb for me which i took, after taking it he told me to go to the hospital which i did, could you believe that i was confirm HIV negative after the test, and i went to another hospital and it was also negative. if you have this problem and you want to be free from it please contact this doctor with this email address kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com you can call him any time on +2347038111854 he is the best HIV cure you will find in the whole world. thank you Dr Kpelede am free now.

     
  • joy232 posted at 7:12 pm on Mon, Jul 7, 2014.

    joy232 Posts: 7

    Good day everyone, my name is Miss joy from USA, i have been suffering from HIV/Aids for over 4years now, and suddenly,i have spent all my money,all to make sure i get healthy all day no good result,but happily last month February 12th 2014, i came in contact with a traditional doctor also known as a chief priest on a newspaper who is called dr Kpelede, who help me to cure effective called aids, firstly i taught it was a joke until i go for check up. please viewers, contact this man for your healing on his email address here, kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com, try and see...

     
  • joy232 posted at 7:12 pm on Mon, Jul 7, 2014.

    joy232 Posts: 7

    Hello,
    I was diagnosed of this HIV deadly disease a friend of mine introduce Dr Kpelede to me and I actually did contact him after he has prepare what he said he will do and he sent it to me and I used it according to his prescription after one week I went to the hospital to check my status again because I was feeling differently from the way I used when I was tested POSITIVE to my greatest surprise the status was NEGATIVE the medical doctors there was surprise and I have to tell the whole world about this if you are still having this similar problem I recommend you to Dr Kpelede for you here is his email address: kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com, you can call him any time on +2347038111854

     
  • joy232 posted at 7:11 pm on Mon, Jul 7, 2014.

    joy232 Posts: 7


    I am miss JOY from USA, i never believe that HIV AID cure is real on till i got in contact with Dr Kpelede, my HIV started six years ago, i was even waiting for death because all my money went out for drugs, which keep me till today, one day i saw in the internet that HIV cure is out i then email Dr Kpelede, and he prepared out the herb drug for me which i took, after taking it he told me to go to the hospital which i did, could you believe that i was confirm HIV negative after the test and i went to another hospital and it was also negative as the same. if you have this kind of problem and you want to be free from it please contact this doctor with this email address kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com, you can call him any time on +2347038111854

     

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