Robb Reichard, Executive Director of AIDS Fund, and Fatima Sangare, Lead Medical Case manager for Bebashi, discussed their work in prevention of HIV and care for those living with it as we approach the 37th Annual AIDS Walk Philly. AIDS Fund works with area service providers to make emergency grants directly to clients to allow them to maintain their treatment, housing and rent, transportation, food, co-pays, small amounts that could keep them from losing their home or becoming unable to stay with their treatment. Bebashi, Treatment to Hope, empowers Black and Brown people to enhance the quality of their health and overall well-being by providing access to culturally sensitive high-quality healthcare, HIV/AIDS services, health education, and social services. Fatima offered examples of how these grants from the AIDS Fund have allowed her clients to stay housed and in treatment.
We discussed AIDS and HIV in Philadelphia, where again it disproportionately affects the disenfranchised, low income and Black and Brown communities. Robb notes that 25% of new HIV and other STD transmissions are among young people, 13 to 24 and it is through sexual exposure. They discussed the need for more education and access to prevention for these groups. We spoke again of their goal, zero stigma, zero transmission and zero deaths. Robb explains stigma prevents information and education to get to those who need it, transmission prevention is possible through PREP and PEP ‘Morning After’ medications, and through AIDS treatments that bring the virus to undetectable. He notes that with the introduction of PREP and new treatment the transmissions among white gay men has dropped considerably.
We talked about this year’s AIDS Walk Philly, October 15th from the Art Museum along Kelly Drive. Registration is now open with walk-ups welcome. The event will begin with the reading of names and a display of AIDS Quilt panels and all funds will support the grants offered through AIDS Fund.
For services and more information about resources and referrals they recommend beginning with DHH at 215-985-AIDS.
To register for AIDS Walk Philly go to aidswalkphilly.org
For more information about AIDS Fund Philly go to aidsfundphilly.org
For Bebashi Treatment to Hope, visit bebashi.org