Since 1997, Gospel Against AIDS (GAA)/Global Research Education and Training Networks (GREATNES) has generated an amazing portfolio of work, outreach, education, advocacy – and now testing and counseling – in urban and rural areas throughout the state of Michigan. GAA/GREATNES is unique among faith-based communities in the provision of evidence based programs that effectively and significantly changes fear to action among congregations and communities who receive and process transformative curriculums of HIV pathogenesis, prevention and treatment in faith congregations and communities.
Besides prevention education, GAA/GREATNESS was moved to respond to draconian cuts of 50% in HIV services in the state of Michigan during the reformulation of CARE act dollars (2010-2013) to move away from communities successfully reducing new cases of HIV to follow communities with increases in new cases of HIV infection, increases in more people living with HIV, and fewer deaths associated with HIV infection. While dollars follow the epidemic, there are dramatically fewer funded resources to support communities that continue to show these reductions. In March of 2012, GAA/GREATNES received its state certification to provide conventional HIV CTR in the State of Michigan. This was the first time a faith-based agency in the State of Michigan received this designation. In May 2013, GAA/GREATNES became a state certified Rapid Testing site. From May 2013 – August 2013, GAA/GREATNES has tested over 300 individuals in 15 houses of worship. Of that number 7 of the 15 houses of worship have become permanent HIV testing sites; five of those houses of worship distribute condoms. In a time of continued reductions for HIV services, one organization - GAA/GREATNES has tripled the number of Detroit based testing sites within two years. A handful of programs stands between current low rates and a new epidemic of increased HIV infection rates. As CDC funds continue to follow the epidemic, we hold out hope that programs like GAA/GREATNES receive more, not less financial support.
Dr. Larry Gant
Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Art and Design, School of Art and Design
Gospel Against AIDS Board Member