About Southern Reach


About Southern REACH

Strategic Advocacy, Led by and for Southerners

Seven of the top 10 states with the highest rates of HIV diagnoses are in the South.4 The challenges across this region highlight a stark need for stronger HIV infrastructure. Creating the political will, as well as capacity for policy advocacy, requires sustained strategic and effective advocacy led by and for Southerners.

While Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation is underway, nearly every Southern state has declined Medicaid expansion. This devastating blow perpetuates disparities in access to care and compounds the impact of HIV.

“The HIV epidemic continues through complex and deep-rooted social and economic inequities,” said Jesse Milan, Jr., AIDS United president & CEO. “We cannot end the epidemic and advance the lives of people living with HIV without addressing the disparities experienced by racial, gender and sexual minorities, and nowhere are these disparities more pronounced than in the U.S. South. This is difficult work, but AIDS United and the Ford Foundation are proud to be at the forefront of this movement.”

AIDS United is particularly qualified to partner with organizations in the South to develop an advocacy infrastructure. “Southern REACH taps into all the strengths of AIDS United,” adds Milan. “From focusing on strategic grant-making that can truly effect change, to our work in policy and technical assistance, REACH is truly built on all of our core strengths.”

AIDS United has supported the South by:

  • Convening legal provider meetings to share key lessons, promote cross-site support, and leverage expertise.
  • Organizing three congressional roundtables (one in the Senate and one in the House) to bring attention to HIV disparities in the South and advocate for increased resources.
  • Participating in the White House Summit on HIV in the South to ask tough questions and explore viable solutions. AIDS United shared information about the summit in recent blog posts here and here.
Empowering and Mobilizing Communities

Southern REACH remains one of the largest non-government programs investing in reducing and eliminating HIV in the South. Using strategic grant-making to mobilize communities to create lasting social change was revolutionary at the time of inception, and remains so today. Southern REACH removes legal, political, and systemic barriers to ensure health, human rights, and dignity for people living with HIV.

Ten Years of Making Change in Partnership with the Ford Foundation


This year marks 10 years of strategic grant making through Southern REACH. In this time, AIDS United has managed over $11 million generously invested by the Ford Foundation in Southern states severely impacted by HIV in order to create lasting social change. We are so thankful for the support and leadership from the Ford Foundation that makes this initiative possible.

Join Us to Turn Back the Tide of HIV in the South

By investing resources AIDS United has stepped up to the charge and become part of the solution. Join us in the fight.

Support this important work today