AIDS-HIV Groups Form Coalition

Several organizations are coming together to promote H-I-V Awareness in central Kentucky.  The HIV Community Coalition is made up of the Lexington Fayette County Health Department, the Hope Center, Volunteers of America, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services, and AIDS Volunteers of Lexington, or AVOL. Each group does their own HIV awareness, but AVOL Executive Director Mark Royse says there is plenty of work to go around.

“We serve 72 counties in central and eastern Kentucky. And I have 4 prevention people to work 72 counties and I think the Health Department has two. It’s not like there’s an army of people out there doing things. It’s important that we collaborate,” said Royse.

Royse says that collaboration is especially important as agencies work with reduced funding. A report coming out next month is expected to show the prevalence of HIV in Kentucky.

"If we can all collaborate and sort of partner everyone’s strengths together, we can cover a larger area more effectively and more efficiently and make the best use of everybody’s resources,” said Royce.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is also involved. Sarah Alleyne is the department’s HIV program coordinator.

“We don’t want HIV to become forefront on your mind because you’ve been diagnosed with it. We’d rather get it out there so that maybe we can get some prevention and education and awareness out there before you have to deal with it.”

The HIV Community Coalition plans to establish social networking sites and a single telephone hotline that could be a point of contact for people interested in HIV testing and support.