NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today awarded $1.6 million over five years to Hyacinth AIDS Foundation to expand HIV prevention services for young gay and bisexual men of color, transgender youth of color, and their partners in Hudson County New Jersey. This grant is part of a $55 million CDC national initiative to reach these populations throughout the country.
"This is exceptional news, particularly today as we recognize National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day," said Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, Hyacinth’s Executive Director. "Young gay men of color, bisexual men and transgender individuals are most at risk for HIV infection. If we are going to eliminate AIDS from our communities, we must rely on strong social networks to fully integrate HIV counseling and testing into the lives of these young men. Homophobia, fear and stigma are still very strong barriers that often prevent them from getting tested for HIV, and seeking care and treatment if they have HIV. We need to continue to fight to eliminate these barriers, help these young men, and prevent the further spread of HIV in our communities."
According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Division on HIV, STD and TB, cumulative HIV/AIDS cases in New Jersey exceeded 75,000 cases in 2010. Twenty nine percent of those infected were men who have sex with men. Also in 2010, 1,780 new HIV infections were reported in New Jersey, and 39% of them were men who have sex with men, indicating a striking rise in the number of infections within this community.
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation is New Jersey’s first and largest AIDS service organization with eight offices located throughout the State, serving over 15,000 people annually with direct care, treatment education and prevention. Hyacinth is the only organization in New Jersey with a dedicated public policy and community organizing staff dedicated to protect the rights and benefits of people living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey.
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