The AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey has helped people find health care, employment and food.
A non-profit in south Jersey that serves people with HIV and AIDS is closing. WHYY’s health and science reporter Kerry Grens says other organizations anticipate more difficult access to medications and support.
After 22 years of helping people find free or discounted health care, counseling, and housing, the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey will close. Jane Shull, the executive director of the AIDS group Philadelphia Fight says other groups will absorb some of the needs – but not all of it.
Shull: That ability for someone to call up and say they have this need or that need and either get services there or be directed someplace else I think will be much more difficult if not impossible.
Kevin Burns is the executive director of Actions AIDS in Philadelphia.
Burns: It is really concerning about, how is Southern New Jersey going to keep people connected with care and keep them on medications that are life saving and treatments that are life saving? It’s very concerning.
The AIDS Coalition is closing because of funding issues, including cuts in state support. Kathy Ahearn O’Brien is the executive director of the largest AIDS group in New Jersey, called Hyacinth.
O’Brien: It strikes a chord of fear I think in many non-profit organizations because funds are tightening up and everyone’s chasing the same dollar.
More than 34,000 people in New Jersey are living with HIV or AIDS. In the southern half of the state, Atlantic County has the greatest prevalence of the disease.