More than a dozen grassroots agencies dedicated to the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS–including several in the New York metro area–will receive thousands of dollars in charitable contributions from a New Jersey-based drug company, company officials announced in late April.
The company, Janssen Therapeutics, a division of New Brunswick, N.J.-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, announced plans to release up to $30,000 in grants and/or charitable donations to 16 organizations, including at least four in the metro New York area, in an effort to increase awareness and treat the thousands of people in the area living with the potentially deadly HIV virus. The donations are made through a three-year-old pilot program at the company called LINCC (Linking in Need Communities to Care), an initiative that has donated more than $1.6 million in funds to various service organizations across the country since 2010.
“The HIV epidemic is not going away, and it often hits those in greatest need the hardest,” said Carine Brouillon, president of Janssen Therapeutics.
In a media statement, Brouillon added that there are enormous disparities in health care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS, especially among African-Americans, and marginalized communities such as incarcerated people living with the disease. Among the New York City area organizations to receive donations from the drug maker are HELP/PSI, Citiwide Harm Reduction and Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research & Treatment. Also, ActionAIDS in Philadelphia and the AIDS Action Committee in Boston were among the recipients of sizable donations from the drug maker.
In an odd twist, the announcement of the funding was made just days prior to a New York state Health Department report that revealed the number of new HIV infections in New York has decreased by nearly 3 percent between 2007 and 2010. Nationally, the number of new HIV/AIDS cases dropped by 11 percent–from 53,200 to 47,500–during the same period, according to various health department records and recently published reports.
In a statement sent to the press shortly after a presentation about HIV/AIDS was made before an advisory panel, AIDS Institute Director Dan O’Connell said, “We are no longer the epicenter [for HIV] in terms of new infections.”
More than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.