Positive Wellness Alliance awarded $50,000 from COMPASS Initiative®

Sophia Russell-Hall

Positive Wellness Alliance awarded $50,000 from COMPASS Initiative®
December 31
11:00 2019

Positive Wellness Alliance received a $50,000 Transformative Grant from University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work as part of the COMPASS Initiative® to build on community-driven solutions that are reducing stigma and improving the health and wellbeing of those impacted by HIV in the South. Positive Wellness Alliance will use the funds to develop Trauma Informed Care and Community-Resiliency Training for persons living with HIV and those who work with them. 

“We are excited about this opportunity to address mental health issues among persons who have experienced trauma living with HIV/AIDS in our county,” says Sophia Russell-Hall, interim executive director.  “As this agency strives to continue its efforts to address the HIV epidemic in the South, we understand providing care for this community does not and should not occur in a silo. We look forward to collaborating with Crossnore School & Children’s Home as well as additional community partners on this initiative.” 

The South faces a growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Despite being home to only 38% of the country’s population, Southern states experienced 52% of new HIV diagnoses in 2017. Due to societal disparities in the South—including poverty, housing stability and food security—the epidemic represents a complex challenge that requires a variety of community-based solutions. COMPASS invests in community organizations that build awareness, reduce stigma, advance education, share knowledge and promote the well-being of individuals affected by HIV. 

The COMPASS Initiative® is awarding more than $2.3 million in Transformative Grants to 40 organizations. This one-year grant will help address inequalities within the HIV epidemic by increasing organizational capacity, reducing stigma and promoting wellbeing, mental health, and trauma-informed care.   

“We believe in going where the need is greatest, listening to those working on the front lines and providing them the resources they need to scale their success,” said Korab Zuka, Vice President of Public Affairs at Gilead Sciences. “Nowhere is that truer than in the Southern U.S., where HIV infection rates are increasing and finding access to care can be difficult. Last year our transformative grantees helped reduce stigma, train healthcare professionals and expand access in rural communities. We’re excited to see these new grantees bring their creativity and tenacity to end HIV once and for all.”

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