(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Pfizer Foundation today announced the names of 20 U.S. community-based AIDS service organizations (ASOs) chosen to participate in ConnectHIV, the Foundations latest initiative to support organizations working to stop the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS. ConnectHIV integrates lessons learned from the Southern HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative, the Foundations recently completed 3-year prevention initiative to support small-to-mid-sized organizations in multicultural communities in the South. Through ConnectHIV, the Foundation is providing $7.5 million in grants, technical assistance and networking resources over three years to ASOs that take a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention, access to care and treatment.

ASOs chosen to receive grants through ConnectHIV serve communities that are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and are based in the 10 states with the highest number of new AIDS cases as reported by the CDC in 2004: New York, Florida, California, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina.

The Pfizer Foundation is providing national leadership by promoting evidence-based approaches and is strongly supporting community leadership by granting funds to community-based service providers that know best how to reach those most at risk for infection and those most in need of care-related services, said Frank Beadle de Palomo, senior vice president and director, global HIV/AIDS programs, Academy for Educational Development (AED). AED is proud to be an evaluation partner for such a visionary program.

To measure the impact of ConnectHIV, AED and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are partnering with the Pfizer Foundation to evaluate behavior change within the ASO communities. Behaviors that will be evaluated include actions around HIV testing, safe sex negotiation, disclosure of HIV status, condom use, access to substance abuse treatment services and support, adherence to medication and regular visits to healthcare providers. The evaluation will also measure cost-effectiveness of program interventions to understand how to maximize the health benefits of any given investment in the HIV prevention and care continuum.

The HIV epidemic is far from over in the U.S., and comprehensive approaches to HIV/AIDS care and prevention are needed. The Pfizer Foundation model is to be strongly commended in this regard, and I am pleased to be an evaluation partner in this very important project, said David Holtgrave, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

HIV/AIDS remains an urgent domestic health crisis with HIV infection rates in the U.S. remaining steady over the past 15 years. The CDC reports that approximately 40,000 Americans become HIV-positive each year and one-quarter of HIV-infected Americans do not yet know they are infected. Infections from this group are believed to account for more than half of new HIV infections each year. The Institute of Medicine estimates that up to approximately 49 percent of the people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. do not receive regular care for the disease.

These organizations are leaders in the HIV/AIDS community, said Robert Mallett, president of the Pfizer Foundation. We are pleased that the grants will support their outstanding work in providing much-needed care and services. Pfizer understands that prevention and care efforts need to target both HIV+ and high-risk HIV- individuals, and is critical in decreasing new infections.

ConnectHIV Grantees

ASOs awarded ConnectHIV fundingCityState
Foothill AIDS Project Claremont CA
Cal-Pep Oakland CA
Black Coalition on AIDS San Francisco CA
STOP AIDS Project San Francisco CA
Shanti Project San Francisco CA
NFAN Jacksonville FL
Positive Impact, Inc. Atlanta GA
Chicago House and Social Service Agency Chicago IL
Test Positive Aware Network Chicago IL
AIDS Interfaith Residential Baltimore MD
Piedmont Health Care Consortium Durham NC
AIDS Care Service, Inc Winston-Salem NC
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation New Brunswick NJ
NY Harm Reduction Educators Bronx NY
Latino Commission on AIDS New York NY
The Family Center New York NY
BEBASHI Philadelphia PA
Prevention Point Philadelphia Philadelphia PA
Philadelphia FIGHT Philadelphia PA
St. Hope Foundation Houston TX

ConnectHIV Partners

Academy for Educational Development is an independent, nonprofit organization committed to solving critical social problems and building the capacity of individuals, communities, and institutions to become more self-sufficient. AED works in all the major areas of human development, with a focus on improving education, health, and economic opportunities for the least advantaged people in the United States and developing countries throughout the world. AED is a leader in applying lessons learned in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic internationally to prevention efforts in the United States. AED has been a key partner with community-based organizations, researchers, health departments, national and regional organizations, academic institutions and many other key stakeholders to focus on reducing the spread of the epidemic in most at-risk groups, especially communities of color.

As a leading international authority on public health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is dedicated to protecting health and saving lives. Every day, the School works to keep millions around the world safe from illness and injury by pioneering new research, deploying its knowledge and expertise in the field and educating tomorrow's scientists and practitioners in the global defense of human life. The School was founded in 1916, and the Department of Health, Behavior & Society, chaired by Dr. Holtgrave, was launched in 2005 to address behavioral and societal issues in public health.

Pfizer Foundation a Legacy in HIV Prevention

The Pfizer Foundation has worked in partnership with community-based organizations for a half a century to ensure access to quality healthcare for those individuals most in need. Beginning in 2004, the Pfizer Foundation and Pfizer committed a total of $6 million over 3 years to support a network of more than 55 innovative HIV/AIDS prevention program across 9 Southern states.

After three years of intensive grant and capacity building support, the majority of Southern HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative grantees have demonstrated stronger service delivery, improved organizational capacity, and expanded networks with local and regional AIDS service organizations. In addition, the social impact of the Initiative has been significant, including training more than 1,000 individuals as peer educators or mentors and reaching more than 50,000 community members with prevention materials.

The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. The Foundation is a separate and independent tax-exempt organization. The Foundations mission is to promote access to quality health care and education, to nurture innovation, and to support the community involvement of Pfizer people.

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