Letter From The Executive Director

September, 2008


Dear Friend,

A recent and very alarming report released by the Center for Disease Control states that new HIV infections have been under-reported in this country and that the annual infection rate is actually 40% higher than previously stated.

There are roughly 225,000 more people living with HIV in this country than previously thought.

And yet, the Bush administration has actually shrunk CDC’s prevention budget by 19% over the last five+ years and has used these under-reported figures to cut money from essential social service programs, implying that the need is no longer there.

Here at BC/EFA, we know it is.

That’s why we’re turning to you, our good friends, today with a request to help us raise $250,000 in the next 30 days to help keep grassroots AIDS groups from spiraling into crisis. Please help us reach our goal by going online to donate to BC/EFA today.

We applaud the recently approved PEPFAR, an appropriations bill that will send $40 billion dollars in aid to under-developed countries to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.   But we wonder why our government isn’t more interested in funding basic AIDS services for its own citizens?

There are more black Americans living with AIDS than the infected populations of Botswana, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Namibia, Rwanda or Vietnam combined.

Plus, while 53% of all new infections are among gay and bisexual men of all races, the rate among African-American men and women was found to be seven times as high as for whites and three times as high for Hispanics.

We need to take care of our own as well.  Please help us today.

Federal Ryan White dollars, long a staple of grassroots service providers, have been shifted away from food programs, housing and other essentials to a strictly medical focus.  Of course, people with HIV/AIDS need doctors and medications.  But they need shelter, nutrition and other life-saving services too services our grantees provide.

When I talk with the ordinary heroes working on the frontlines of this disease in communities across this country, I am filled with admiration for their dedication to the men, women and children they serve.  All of them are trying to operate with less and less money each year.

And, just like our own family budgets, our grantees’ budgets are being stretched to the limit by higher prices for food, gas and other essentials.

I refuse to let AIDS and family services groups across the country weather this storm alone.   I refuse to let people with HIV/AIDS suffer alone.  With a generous gift from you today, they won’t have to.

Please go online and make a generous tax-deductible donation today.

I also urge you to join me in demanding more from our leaders and representatives. It’s long past time for our government to stop playing politics with people’s lives and begin making the important policy decisions that will allow us to meet the challenges of this disease.

Thank you, as always, for standing with the men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS across the country. Please go online and donate today.

With deep appreciation,

Tom Viola
Executive Director

P.S.      Despite our government’s inadequate response to the crisis, I find strength in knowing that thousands of dedicated people like you are willing to share some of your resources so that those who a kind and loving man who lived over 2,000 years ago referred to, without judgment, as “the least of you”, could be offered a hand, some help, a chance at a new beginning, as they face the intense challenges of AIDS and a host of inter-related issues.