AIDS Free Pittsburgh and Highmark Foundation Award $90,000 in HIV Screening Grants to Local Organizations

Grantee Allies for Health + Wellbeing held a free HIV testing mobile clinic in March 2021.

AIDS Free Pittsburgh and the Highmark Foundation awarded four Allegheny County healthcare providers grants to pilot new HIV screening projects for high-risk populations. Grantees Community Human Services Project Silk, UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine Residency, Allies for Health + Wellbeing, and Planned Parenthood of Western PA received the combined $90,000 in funding and launched their new projects on June 1.

The projects aim to increase access to HIV testing in healthcare and/or community-based settings through innovative service delivery models, which are needed to address the small but steady increase in the percentage of people in Allegheny County diagnosed with late-stage HIV (AIDS). Increasing the rate of HIV testing is key to early detection, diagnosis, and treatment, which can stop the spread of HIV and support long, healthy lives for people living with HIV.

The grantees will use a variety of approaches tailored to each community they serve, including pop-up parties with incentives, workshops, storytelling, contests, and at-home testing kits, to encourage HIV testing and build trusting community relationships.

"We are so excited to bring our Relationships Empower Access to Care and Health (REACH) to the Mon-Valley," said Sean DeYoung, Chief Executive Officer of Allies for Health + Wellbeing. "Transportation and access to care have been long-standing barriers in this part of our region, so being able to provide confidential, safe HIV and STI testing directly to the community, in partnership with local organizations such as Rainbow Kitchen and Free Store 15104 is an important step forward. We are very grateful to AIDS Free Pittsburgh and Highmark Foundation for providing the funding that is making this project possible."

"Project Silk is excited about this opportunity from AIDS Free Pittsburgh and the Highmark Foundation to increase the care of communities we serve through HIV testing," said Project Silk Program Director Jessica Burdick. "This resource will impact Project Silk's ability to intentionally reach new people and have a greater impact on the community."

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