Five Horizons staff participate in national, state, and local advocacy efforts in order to: 1) ensure that sufficient funding is allocated for the provision of HIV-related services, 2) reduce HIV-related stigma, and 3) promote practices that decrease the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. 

The federal and state advocacy efforts of Five Horizons are in collaboration with the AIDS Service Organization Network of Alabama (ASONA). The nine AIDS Service Organizations in the state form a collective decision-making body regarding HIV-related case management, housing, and advocacy. 

 

Activities

AIDSWatch

On an annual basis, staff and clients participate in AIDSWatch in Washington, D.C.  This event brings together hundreds of advocates from over 30 states.  In-person meetings are held with House and Senate offices, discussing the changes needed to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S.

 

HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Also on an annual basis, staff and clients participate in Alabama’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Montgomery, Alabama’s state capitol. Staff, clients, board members and supporters of Alabama’s nine AIDS Service Organizations converge in Montgomery to advocate for HIV-related funding. 

 

Of special note, clients, many of whom are inexperienced in advocacy, are provided with specialized training on how to effectively interact with legislators, how to clearly state what the needs of the HIV community are, and how to make ‘the ask’. 

 

Ajani Groups

Five Horizons makes efforts to reduce HIV stigma in the local community through Ajani Groups.  ‘Ajani’ is an African word meaning ‘He who wins the struggle’.  In these groups, community supporters eat lunch, fellowship, and play games with clients.  The goals of the groups are to: 1) reduce stigma in the local community by creating a dialogue between clients and the community at-large and 2) allow clients access to a constant stream of supporters to improve their perceptions of social support. 

Community groups are invited to reserve a date to participate.   

Numerous churches, student groups, and civic clubs have participated in Ajani.  Individuals may also attend.  Groups are general held on the 4th Thursday of each month at noon.  To reserve a date, email bkirkpatrick@fivehorizons.org.

 

Other

Five Horizons also advocates for public health issues, such as comprehensive sex education, needle exchange programs, and economic reform (i.e., Medicaid expansion).