Local Latino AIDS group left out of AIDS funding


A Latino group is concerned that HIV prevention programs for Hispanics are not getting their fair share of funding from the government. Every five years, the Centers for Disease Control awards grants for HIV programs around the nation.

Joey Weaver is a gay Latino man living with HIV. He recognizes how hard it is for some Hispanic men to accept being gay and HIV positive.

"Men always seem to prefer to keep quiet about their little other side of their lives," he said.

One Latino organization, Grupo Fremont VIP, helps get the word out. It was founded by two men who work from home and receive $45,000 a year from the Alameda County Office of AIDS Administration and Kaiser of Southern Alameda.

"In Alameda County, the priority population is African Americans, so there is always a battle for funding between the Latinos and African Americans," Ron Chavez from Grupo Fremont VIP said.

Today, latinos make up 17 percent of new infections every year.

"CDC has not funded Latinos primarily, although it was their priority to fund, they didn't do it and they had the money," Eduardo Morales from San Francisco-based non-profit Aguilas said.

The CDC tells ABC7 preventing HIV among Latinos is a top priority

From all the funds given, $42 million will go to 133 community-based organizations and 31 of those organizations serve Latinos. Aguilas was not one of them, so they now have to seek funds from elsewhere.

Another $110 million awarded every five years went to "Capacity Building Assistance" or CBA. It mainly goes to national organizations whose prevention message can effectively reach across the country or region.

Aguilas wrote many letters asking for that kind of funding and for months received little information from the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services.

The CDC told ABC7 six Latino groups out of 16 organizations will receive CBA funding and five out of 16 specifically target gay Latino men.

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day is coming up and Grupo Fremont VIP has a special event to help spread the HIV prevention message.

"You are the Difference" is a music extravaganza with a number of groups performing. There will also be free HIV testing on site.

The event takes place on Sunday October 17 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Club 21 -- 2111 Franklin Street, Oakland

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