The Money Trail

Dollars Don’t Always Follow New Trends in AIDS Cases

Interest in AIDS philanthropy has been on the wane as the public grows weary after 20 years of writing checks. Likewise, new therapies make people believe the crisis is over. "Even though we still have benefits and big-ticket fundraisers, it tends to be large institutions like Gay Men's Health Crisis. Small minority organizations tend not to be able to pull that off," says Paul A. Di Donato, the group's executive director.

Now an unexpected source of revenue has answered the call—pharmaceutical companies. More of them find that funding local groups is a good way to get their brand names in the community. Bristol-Myers Squibb Immunology, for instance, is currently sponsoring an 18-week program called Test, Link, Care, which tests Harlem residents for HIV and counsels them either in prevention or treatment depending on the results.

These new business-community partnerships are not without controversy though. "Pharmaceutical companies sometimes want a particular message about the effectiveness of their drug, whereas the community group may not think that's the message that they want to convey to the community," explains Odell Mays, vice president of Community Access, a direct-to-patient education company that coordinated the effort in Harlem.

To fight AIDS in the black community, local groups will have to get a larger share of the remaining funding. "I don't know if we are tapping into the nongovernment sources," says Osubu. "Money is out there, but not many [CBOs] know how to tap into those dollars."


AIDS AND BLACK NEW YORKERS, A SIX-PART SERIES:

Part I: Emergency Call by Kai Wright
How AIDS Is Hurting Black Communities

Part II: Black, Gay, At-Risk by Kai Wright
Homophobia, Racism, and Rejection Fuel Rising Infections

Part III: The Tuskegee Effect by Kemba Johnson
For Blacks, a 28-Year-Old Study Is One of Many Barriers to HIV Prevention

Part IV: Double Jeopardy by Kai Wright
In NY State Blacks Rank Highest Among HIV-Positive Inmates

Part V: Black Women and HIV by Sharon Lerner
Rising Infection Rate Reflects an Age-Old Gender Imbalance

Part VI: The Money Trail by Kemba Johnson
Dollars Don’t Always Follow New Trends in AIDS Cases

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