Cobb gets $2.5 million Federal grant to fight HIV and AIDS among blacks
by Geoff Folsom
December 13, 2012 01:11 AM | 2942 views | 6 6 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — The federal government is providing $2.5 million to help the Cobb Community Services Board fight HIV and AIDS in the black community.

The five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will provide HIV and Hepatitis B and C testing to black heterosexual adults in Cobb, Douglas and Cherokee counties.

“This money is important because HIV in the African American community is at an epidemic level right now,” said Stacy Hull, program director for the CSB’s LifeLine Project.

Hull said that a 2009 study showed 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 30 black women were infected with HIV. She said drug use puts many at risk, both because of the dangers of sharing needles and the increased likelihood it will lead to unprotected sex.

Cobb and Douglas counties had a combined 1,288 people living with AIDS and 1,030 people with non-AIDS HIV as of 2009, the most recent year the Georgia Department of Community Health provided statistics. While those numbers were a fraction of Fulton and DeKalb counties, they did lead any other county or region in the state.

Along with testing, the LifeLine Project will include prevention education and referrals to mental health and drug treatment centers. While the program won’t provide medication to HIV patients, Hull said it will have “health care navigators” that can lead them to treatment.

CSB is hiring staff for the program and hopes to have it up and running by mid-January, Hull said. “Walk-in” HIV testing will be available at the Cobb Recovery Center at 331 North Marietta Parkway in Marietta.

Just because HIV and AIDS don’t receive the same publicity they have in years past doesn’t mean they have gone away, Hull said.

“The medication for it has definitely gotten a lot better,” she said. “As a community, we have definitely taken our eye off it, but it’s still devastating our community.”

The program will treat at least 75 people each year for five years, Hull said.

“We’re just very excited about the opportunity to serve the community,” she said.

The Cobb and Douglas community service boards provide help to residents challenged with mental health, developmental or addition problems and provides them with care and resources.

CSB executive director Tod Citron said the program seeks to mobilize the community in reducing the spread of HIV among black residents.

“HIV infection is totally preventable,” he said. “The Cobb CSB wants to do its part to help educate a segment of its treatment population to prevent the spread of this devastating disease.”
Comments
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Gringo Bandito
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December 13, 2012
AIDS is a lifestyle disease. It could be stopped today if people adjusted their behavior. I don't know why we spend one red cent on this madness.
Something Else
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December 13, 2012
This is a totally preventable disease. Why not put money into those who did nothing to acquire their diseases, for instance cancer or Type I diabetes or whatever
Blacks only?
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December 13, 2012
So... white folks don't get AIDS?
Not to mention...
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December 14, 2012
Only heterosexual people are eligible?
Southern Patriot
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December 13, 2012
AIDS is spread by ignorance and stupidity, no amount of money can change it. Ignorance and stupidity are endemic in certain segments of the population.
Koobie Ingblag
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December 13, 2012
Minneapolis and Chicago each spending millions to close the achievememnt gap for black inner-city students. Interesting that in the documentation for th programs it specifically says "african-american achievement gap", meaning that other populations are being successful in these inner-city schools. Now, thanks to this brilliant new Cobb program, we know that much like academic failure AIDS/HIV only occurs in certain demographics. Poor, uneducated and HIV positive. Lucky you. I know, I know...years of slavery and oppression but MILLIONS of immigrants got of the boat at Ellis Island with NO money and no vocabulary and a generation later they were successful members of society.
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