SOURCE: AIDS Project Los Angeles

May 10, 2005 12:43 ET

M·A·C Global Foundation Supports Project to Stabilize Families, Provide Care and Support to Chennai Women Affected by HIV/AIDS

India's YRG CARE and APLA to Join Forces for International Women's Project

CHENNAI, INDIA and LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 10, 2005 -- AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, and Y.R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE), a non-governmental AIDS service organization based in Chennai, India, have been awarded funding from the M·A·C AIDS Fund to implement a demonstration project designed to stabilize economically challenged families affected by HIV disease by focusing on the needs of women family members.

The money will be used to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS drug therapies and emotional support to women in Chennai and the surrounding state of Tamil Nadu who are directly impacted by HIV disease.

In its first phase, the project will provide 100 women medical, nutritional, emotional and financial support as they wait for the availability of ongoing treatment and care provided by the Indian government and/or the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. An important goal of the project is to enable women who access its services to become forces within their own communities for HIV education, prevention, testing and care.

"We are proud to be funding this project, as India is second only to Africa in the total number of those living with HIV/AIDS," said Lilia Garcia-Leyva, executive director of the M·A·C AIDS Fund. "It is critical that we support the pioneers who are fighting the spread of HIV at the community level and we are confident that this partnership can make a significant difference."

The project will be led by Suniti Solomon, M.D., who along with colleagues was first to document evidence of HIV infection in India in 1986, and by Brenda R. Freiberg, a former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Board of APLA who became an HIV/AIDS activist after losing two sons to AIDS in the early 1990s.

Dr. Solomon founded YRG CARE in1993 to provide HIV and sexuality education for adolescents and young adults, voluntary HIV counseling and testing services, clinic and inpatient services for people living with HIV.

"YRG CARE looks forward to sharing resources and knowledge with APLA as we fight to keep alive some of our most vulnerable populations," said Dr. Solomon. "We are grateful to M·A·C and to APLA for recognizing the great need for support as we respond to the most challenging public health problem India has ever faced."

AIDS Project Los Angeles, founded 1982 to offer care, education and advocacy for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS, will provide technical assistance, program design and evaluation, and fiscal monitoring.

Approximately 5.1 million children and adults in India were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in 2003. This figure, approximately 0.9 percent of the population, makes India second only to South Africa in the overall number of people living with HIV/AIDS.

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