Atlanta's nonprofit group AIDS Survival Project (ASP) will shut down most of its operations by the end of this year because of increased competition for grants and the prevailing notion that HIV/AIDS is no longer a crisis in the United States, the Atlanta Journal–Constitution reports. The advocacy group specializes in testing and training HIV-positive people to counsel peers, lobby politicians and educate the public.

According to the article, ASP had a $1 million budget this year, but fundraising difficulties led to the decision to close rather than face a budget crunch. Advocacy groups like ASP link their financial woes to the public perception of the epidemic.

“Most of the funding is going to medical care, substance abuse, to[counseling] agencies with licensed professionals,” said MelanieSovine, executive director of ASP. Lobbying and peercounseling were a major focus for ASP.

Tracy Elliott, executive director of AID Atlanta, another service agency in the city, said that advocacy groups face challenges raising money when the public believes that HIV/AIDS is under control in the United States. “We don't see AIDS as a problem in our society anymore,” Elliott said.