New affiliation between ‘Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases’ (WORLD) and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) seeks to improve delivery of lifesaving HIV/AIDS care and services to women in Oakland and the Greater Bay Area.
OAKLAND (July 1, 2014) Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD) is expanding its capacity to provide critical lifesaving services to women, girls, families and communities affected by HIV in Oakland and the Greater Bay Area by affiliating with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Both organizations serve HIV-positive clients with a wide variety of free services. AHF is a global organization that provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to more than 315,000 people in 34 countries. It is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States. WORLD is an organization with more than two decades of support and advocacy for HIV-positive women – and women at risk for HIV/AIDS. A small agency with a big impact, WORLD provides direct social services including psychosocial support, to over 300 HIV positive women and their families in Oakland and reaches thousands more through the Greater Bay Area by providing HIV/AIDS and STD education/ prevention, linkage to care, research and advocacy.
“The WORLD Board made a historic and visionary decision to affiliate with AHF to ensure the future sustainability of WORLD’s mission, services and legacy,” said Deborah Royal, Chair of the WORLD Board of Directors.
“This new affiliation between WORLD and AHF allows WORLD to expand outreach to more marginalized women who are most at risk for HIV/AIDS. Our goal is to increase the retention in care of high-risk diagnosed individuals through culturally competent women focused prevention and service programs,” said Cynthia Carey-Grant, Executive Director of WORLD. “We are honored to be partnering with AHF in this exciting new collaboration.”
“Both AHF and WORLD share a common mission to stop the spread of HIV and advocate for the rights and needs of individuals with HIV and AIDS to be treated compassionately, fairly and without judgment,” said Dale R. Gluth, Bay Area Regional Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Each organization has a long history of providing such services: WORLD was founded in 1991; AHF in 1987, a time when the AIDS epidemic was claiming the lives of thousands of men and women across the country and drugs to control the virus were few, new and experimental. This new partnership allows both organizations to continue to leverage our respective strengths to better serve the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in the East Bay and more broadly.”
“AHF recognizes the critical nature of supporting clients with local grassroots community based services that are crucial to ensuring better health care outcomes,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Nowhere is this more evident than in supporting women living with HIV/AIDS. Many people living with HIV/AIDS, including a significant number of AHF clients, are single mothers and/or the sole income providers for their families. Many are leaders in their local communities who can also help ensure more stability and assist in addressing the needs of others. These women need not only medical care and treatment, but also support as individuals and for their families. One of the most outstanding examples of such a program geared to the needs of women and families affected by HIV/AIDS is the one at WORLD. With this new affiliation and under Cynthia Carey-Grant’s ongoing leadership, we hope we can replicate this model in other key AHF locations and communities.”
HIV/AIDS in Oakland/East/Bay/Alameda County
With 11,481 cumulative AIDS cases as of December 31, 2012, the Alameda TGA has the 17th largest number of cumulative diagnosed AIDS cases of any US metropolitan area, and a cumulative AIDS caseload larger than 29 US states. Alameda County alone had the fourth highest number of cumulative AIDS cases by county in California as of December 31, 2012 and during calendar year 2011, a total of 320 newly reported HIV/AIDS cases were diagnosed in the two-county region.
Oakland has a third of Alameda County’s population, but approximately half the county’s HIV/AIDS cases. Approximately 57% of the Oakland HIV/AIDS cases are African American (AA) (Alameda County Health Department, 2012). Overall, AA men account for 52% of all male HIV/AIDS cases and AA females account for 75% of all female HIV/AIDS cases. By risk categories: AA MSM account for 72% of all AA male HIV/AIDS cases, AA heterosexual women account for 66% of all AA female HIV cases, and 31% of AA cases are attributable to IDU. Oakland ranks among the highest percentage of diagnosed AIDS cases among women of any major metropolitan area in the western United States. As of December 31, 2012, 19.3% of people living with HIV/AIDS in the two-county TGA were women, compared to 12.2% for LA County, 12.0% for California, and 6.8 % for San Francisco.
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WORLD (‘Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases’) is a diverse organization for, by, and about women living with, and at risk for, HIV/AIDS. WORLD improves the lives and health of women, girls, families and communities affected by HIV through peer-based education, wellness services, advocacy, and leadership development. We envision a world where women, girls, and families affected by HIV and AIDS have the tools, support and knowledge to live healthy and productive lives with dignity. Our vision is rooted in a commitment to human rights and wellness with the understanding that this includes freedom from violence; access to housing; quality healthcare; food security; physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing; education and economic justice.