September 6, 2013
The AIDS Services Group in Charlottesville is getting a little extra boost in funds. It's all thanks to ViiV Healthcare, a global company geared to treating people with HIV.
The nearly $25,000 in funding will help ASG’s C.H.A.R.L.I. program which stands for Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Resources and Linkages for Inmates.
The main focus was on AIDS treatment and education for prisoners, but now treatment will expand outside of the prison system.
"But it will also allow us to help people coming back into the community access the care they need,” says ASG C.E.O. Peter DeMartino. “This specifically will pay for mental health and recovery services."
Mental stability is one of the biggest problems ASG has seen in HIV positive inmates who are leaving the prisons, and that’s where the expansion of the C.H.A.R.L.I program will kick in.
"We do education, so pretty much we educate on STD awareness and HIV awareness," says Jerod Patterson.
Patterson is a C.H.A.R.L.I. Care Coordinator, but with the new funding his services will go beyond the jail cells to helping inmates re-enter the community.
"A lot of these guys leave institutions, they're on their own,” says Patterson. “They don't have families and stuff to come back to and so we try to help them stay stable and maintain their freedom."
The Southern U.S. sees 45 percent of new AIDS cases. With new infection rates the highest among African American and Latino populations.
ASG is hoping that with the help of ViiV healthcare they can lower those odds and help people in and out of jail receive the treatment they need.