He added: “There are a significant number of HIV positive individuals in Georgia who are not receiving care and treatment. Those patients are not getting treatment for any number of reasons; they are afraid to learn the results of their HIV tests, they have received the results but are in denial over them, or they have started treatment and simply dropped out.”

Last month, the DPH eliminated the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) through state funding as well as funding from President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Also last month, the DPH was criticized by two local gay HIV prevention and treatment agencies, Positive Impact and NAESM. The organizations criticized the DPH in its handling of awarding grants to local agencies.

From the press release from DPH about the $2.5 million grant:

Earlier this year, DPH followed a national model in adopting a “treatment as prevention” AIDS prevention program. Research indicates an HIV-positive person is 96 percent less-likely to pass the virus to others if they’re adhering to an appropriate treatment regimen.

Last month, health workers within Georgia’s HIV unit reduced the waiting list for medications under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, or ADAP, to zero – meaning everyone known to be in need of care is receiving it. This new CDC grant is targeted at identifying those still without, or not seeking, treatment.

“We can’t yet start the celebration and declare we’re helping everyone,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the department of public health. “We know we have not reached everyone. This grant will help us reach those still without treatment.”

Photo: People look at the AIDS Quilt in Piedmont Park during last year’s AIDS Walk Atlanta. (file photo)

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