Fulton County receives $3 million to combat HIV in metro-Atlanta
ATLANTA - Fulton County leaders say one in 55 people in metro-Atlanta can contract HIV, but new funding from a federal program may help the county fight the disease better than ever before.
Fulton County Department of HIV Elimination received $3 million in federal funding to fight HIV from the Ending the HIV Epidemic program. Officials told FOX 5 Atlanta's Alex Whittler the funding targets areas where HIV is prevalent.
"More than 50% of all HIV cases come from just 57 counties across the United States," Jeff Cheek, Director of the Department of HIV Elimination, said. "Four of those counties are in metro-Atlanta."
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Fulton County leaders estimate 20,000 people are living with HIV in metro-Atlanta and are receiving assistance from the county. Officials believe another 20,000 are in need of assistance.
The Ending the HIV Epidemic fund is 40% larger than last year's fund, allowing counties to help more HIV-positive people. Now it's up to Fulton County to talk to communities to determine the best ways to utilize the funds.
"Our challenge is to go to communities and say, 'What are the great things that you've been thinking of that will make a difference in this that we can now buy?'" Cheek said.
While the fund will go to Fulton County, the fund will be used to help communities with the highest rates of positive cases, including Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.
The Atlanta area received the third-largest allotment from the federal fund this year, behind New York City and Los Angeles.
Local agencies providing services for HIV in those counties can contact the Fulton County Department of HIV Elimination directly for ideas on how to use the funds.
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