HBCU Morris Brown Receives $900,000 to Fight HIV/AIDS in Atlanta

Stone Hall, Morris Brown College (WIKIPEDIA COMMONS)

article by Angela Bronner Helm via theroot.com

Morris Brown College, which has in recent years fallen on some hard times, seems to be back on the mend with a three-year, $900,000 grant to stem HIV/AIDS infections among young black adults, reports HBCU Digest.

The site reports that this is the second such award for the college in the last two years and the money will be used to launch seminar-styled education sessions on campus, with a focus on substance abuse prevention among college-age youth to prevent risky sexual behaviors.

The grant is reportedly part of a national initiative launched by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration targeting HBCUs as service delivery partners in vulnerable areas.

Morris Brown, founded in 1816 as one of only a few historically black colleges and universities founded by African Americans, has served as a lead institution in the program since 2014 to help improve public health outcomes among youth in Fulton and Dekalb Counties.

Greater Atlanta has alarming rates of HIV infections and the state of Georgia ranks second among U.S. states in the rate of new HIV diagnoses. Only 73 percent of the people in the Atlanta metro area who have HIV know it, because not enough people are getting tested for the virus. (The national average is 87 percent.)

The program at Morris Brown hopes to reach more than 400 participants by 2017.

Read more at HBCU Digest.

Obama Allocates $300,000,000 to Fight HIV Infections in Young Women in Africa


In an effort to combat HIV infections in girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African nations hit hardest by the virus, the Obama administration recently announced a $300 million program to help reduce the growing numbers according to The Associated Press.

The administration hopes to see a “25 percent infection reduction in females between ages 15-24 by the end of next year and a 40 percent reduction by the end of 2017,” the report says.

“No greater action is needed right now than empowering adolescent girls and young women to defeat HIV/AIDS,” said National Security Adviser Susan Rice of the program credited with saving millions of lives in Africa, writes The AP.

The new goals represent the next phase of the program, which was started by President George W. Bush and broadened by President Barack Obama, the report says.

The Obama administration releaased the new targets before “a U.N. summit on development goals for lifting people around the world out of poverty. Obama is scheduled to address the development meeting on Sunday,” writes The AP

About half of all new HIV infections among girls and young women last year are from the 10 countries countries targeted by the new initiatives, including Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, The AP says.

Read more at The Associated Press

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com

Actor Jay Ellis and Artist Shantell Martin Team with AmfAR to Raise Awareness For “Countdown to a Cure for AIDS”

Jay Ellis and Visual Artist Shanell Martin with AmfAR Towel
Jay Ellis and Visual Artist Shanell Martin with “Be Epic, Cure AIDS,” Limited Edition AmfAR towel

My first memory of being directly affected by the death of someone who lost their life to AIDS was when tennis legend Arthur Ashe died. My father broke the news to me. It was one of those unshakeable things — nearly impossible to process and even harder to understand. In a lot of ways it hit my Dad pretty hard.  My parents had gone to college at UCLA with Arthur and growing up in our household, they made sure we knew he was way more than an incredible tennis player… he was an activist that paved the way for so many.  He was “a great kind guy,” their classmate and hero.

Arthur had certainly had his health challenges… but athletic superheroes weren’t supposed to succumb to an incurable disease at 49.  It was unfathomable.  The news of his death hit over twenty-two years ago… and sadly we still do not have a cure for a disease that affects the black community (Africans & African- Americans) the most.  Statistically, we make up more than forty percent of all new cases… and Jay Ellis (“The Game”) and famed British visual artist, Shantell Martin, know its time to do something about that. Their collaboration with amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research) and its “Countdown to A Cure for AIDS” initiative is something I can really get behind.

Out of this amfAR collaboration comes a limited edition beach towel. Designed exclusively for amfAR to help raise awareness and find a cure for HIV/AIDS, the towel’s design features Martin’s black & white illustrations and the inscription, “Be Epic, Cure AIDS,” a nod to amfAR’s “Countdown to a Cure for AIDS” initiative, aimed at developing the scientific basis of a cure by 2020.


This summer, I can’t think of a better accessory. This towel is exclusively sold at Scoop NYC locations and on amfAR’s website: http://shop.amfar.org/shantell-martin-amfar-towel.html for $40 with 100% of the proceeds supporting research to find a cure for HIV/AIDS. Let’s all do what we can.

Did you know:

  • Nearly 37 million people are now living with HIV. 2.6 million are under the age of 15.
  • In 2014, an estimated 2 million people were newly infected with HIV.
  • 220,000 were under the age of 15.
  • Every day about 5,600 people contract HIV—more than 230 every hour.
  • In 2014, 1.2 million people died from AIDS.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 78 million people have contracted HIV and close to 39 million have died of AIDS- related causes.
  • As of March 2015, around 15 million people living with HIV (41% of the total) had access to antiretroviral therapy.

Learn more about amfAR here: http://www.amfar.org/about.html.  If you don’t know her work already, find out more about Shantell Martin and her amazing art: http://www.shantellmartin.com/about/.

And Jay Ellis and his fascinating transition into the acting world: http://www.jay-ellis.com

Lesa Lakin GBN Lifestyle Editor
article by Lesa Lakin
GBN Lifestyle Editor

The 13th National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Is February 7

NBHAAD_2013_Postcard_FRONTObserved each year for the past thirteen years on February 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is a day to promote HIV testing and raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS in the Black community, one of the communities hardest hit by the disease. This year’s NBHAAD theme, “I am my brother/sister’s keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS,” reminds us that to effectuate change in any movement, we must work together for the collective good and sometimes this work requires us to put up a good fight.

More than any other racial/ethnic minority group, the Black community, and Black gay men in particular, continue to be disproportionately affected by this disease. In young, Black gay men, the numbers are especially staggering with approximately 1 in 4 new HIV infections occurring among this group according to the CDC.

There are four specific focal points of NBHAAD: education, testing, involvement, and treatmentEducationally, the focus is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities. Testing is at the core of this initiative, as it is hoped that Blacks will mark February 7 of every year as their annual or bi-annual day to get tested for HIV. This is vital for those who are sexually active and those at high risk of contracting HIV. When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting Blacks involved to serve is another key focus. Black people from all walks of life, economic classes, literacy levels, shades and tones as well as communities (large and small) need to get connected to the work happening on the ground in their local areas. And lastly, for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them treatment and care services becomes paramount. 

To find a testing location close to you, go to http://hivtest.cdc.gov