Dear Friends and Supporters:
Unprecedented storms have devastated significant portions of Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, leaving many residents with little or no access to shelter, clean water, electricity, and life-sustaining medications and care. This is especially true for our brothers and sisters living with HIV. For them, every moment is a battle for survival. 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 speedy response from our community. In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the HIV Hurricane Relief Effort was created to provide grants to support organizations serving the needs of people living with and affected by HIV in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. NMAC is partnering with AIDS United by appointing an HIV Hurricane Relief Advisory Panel of constituents from the affected regions to identify priority emergency needs for the HIV communities in each area.
Today, we are expanding these efforts to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 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 made an additional $1 million available to the Fund to support immediate assistance to areas affected by the storms. Johnson & Johnson has just made a major contribution as well.
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 service 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. Funds can also support HIV organizational needs.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We must do all we can to help. Now!
Jesse Milan, Jr., AIDS United
Murray C. Penner, NASTAD
David C. Harvey, NCSTDD
Paul Kawata, NMAC
Michael Ruppal, The AIDS Institute
AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the U.S. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV and STD prevention, care and treatment in the United States.