Who We Are and What We Do
AIDSNET’s main function is to provide assistance to the growing population of people with HIV/AIDS. This is accomplished through the processes of assessing, planning, and allocating government funds to guarantee a high quality of service in the counties of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill.
AIDSNET’s mission is to create healthier communities through planning and funding HIV/AIDS care and prevention services.
A Worldwide Epidemic
The HIV and AIDS epidemic began in illness, fear and death as the world faced a new and unknown virus. The World Health Organization estimates that 37.9 million people have HIV/AIDS globally and 770,000 died of the virus in 2018.
The AIDS virus has no bias. It attacks young and old, LGBT and heterosexual, all races, and it is blind to religion.
Thanks to the advancements in science and medicine; such as the development of antiretroviral drugs, treatment is now available to allow HIV/AIDS patients tolive long and healthy lives.
More than 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV
and more than 200,000 have no idea they are infected.
Every day we face new challenges to maintain our budget. Unemployment and job growth continue to remain stagnant, and the budgets within the Commonwealth of PA and the Federal Government are receiving even more scrutiny due to reduced revenues from taxes and fees. Funding for programs that are vital to every community is being reviewed, challenged and often reduced, if not eliminated. This is particularly true in the areas of prevention, awareness and education.
In order for AIDSNET to maintain acceptable standards in these three areas and to assure our place in the community until HIV/AIDS is eliminated we must look to the generosity of individuals. Please assist us in continuing the work we started over two decades ago by contributing. Your donations will allow us to address the needs of those already infected and to strive to reduce the likelihood of others being infected in the future.
Building Healthier Communities Together
AIDSNET history goes back to the early days of the epidemic. By the mid-1980’s, it was evident that the community’s response to AIDS would require strong leadership. However, because the AIDS epidemic was so fresh and new on the minds of society, the development of a comprehensive approach by local agencies was almost non-existent. Limited information about the basic nature of AIDS, as well as a lack of resources to help those infected, resulted in an inadequate public health response. This fragmented response may have served to meet immediate needs, but it was clear that a more unified approach was required.
By 1989, most of the limited state funding for AIDS was allocated to the large metropolitan areas. But the virus was clearly spreading to the smaller cities and towns all over America.
In August 1990, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency (CARE) Act was signed into law. Title II of the Act (now called Part B) directed that formula-based funding would be awarded to all states.
In October 1990, two months after the passage of the Ryan White CARE Act, the PA-DOH announced a new decentralized HIV planning strategy with the creation of seven regional consortia.
In July 1991, the AIDS Long Range Planning Coalition, a year-long initiative of the United Way of Lehigh, Northampton and Warren Counties and supported by a grant from the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, developed a plan for meeting the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in our region. In implementing the AIDS Regional Long Range Plan, the six-county regional HIV care coalition known as AIDSNET was formed to continue to provide leadership, advocate for HIV-infected persons and plan realistically for a coordinated and integrated health and human services system. Funding was solicited and received from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pool Trust Fund.
In August 1991, AIDSNET began facilitating the development of a regional network for the delivery of educational, preventive, and health and human services to individuals with HIV infection, and individuals at risk for and affected by HIV. The United Way of Lehigh, Northampton and Warren Counties served as the lead agency providing fiscal and administrative oversight. The role of AIDSNET included needs assessment and planning, building community awareness, cooperation/coordination, education/prevention, advocacy, clearinghouse, resource development, implementation and self-evaluation functions. AIDSNET would also forge partnerships between business, industry, policy makers, the voluntary sector, and health and human service organizations. Fiscal year July 1992 – June 1993 was the first year AIDSNET entered into subcontracts with providers.
On February 16, 1994, AIDSNET was incorporated as a non-profit organization and officially began operating on its own on July 1, 1994. AIDSNET decided to incorporate so it could operate as its own fiscal agent. Incorporation provided additional flexibility for the organization and the ability to attract supplemental funding through granting organizations.
Over the years, AIDSNET has earned the respect of service providers, consumers, funding sources and others interested in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. The organization’s reputation is based on its desire to partner with other organizations, working toward the goal of providing better services to those who are at risk, as well as those infected with and affected by the disease. AIDSNET has strong administrative procedures, as evidenced by clean audits, as well as strong programmatic and administrative evaluations, which provides comfort to supporters of the organization.
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