It Takes a Village to Stop HIV
BY Advocate Contributors
December 01 2011 5:00 AM ET
Novelist and activist Jean Redmann is known for her mystery writing and HIV work, both interests connected by the allure of New Orleans. Much of her fiction focuses on Big Easy–based private investigator Micky Knight, the protagonist of books such as Water Mark, and Redmann writes Micky’s stories when not doing her full-time work: serving as the director of prevention at NO/AIDS Task Force, a New Orleans–based AIDS awareness, prevention, and service group. The organization serves a region that desperately needs comprehensive HIV care and preventive measures, especially for high-risk groups like black adolescents and gay men. New Orleans and the state of Louisiana consistently rank high in new HIV infections each year.
The current economy leaves the organization making due with the limited resources it has. NO/AIDS receives most of its funding through federal grants — not the GOP-run state government. “Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately,” she says, “HIV programs have been flat-funded, meaning they have not been cut, but not added to either.”
The possibility of federal budget cuts does not deter Redmann: “We want our clients to receive the services they need. It doesn’t matter if we are the only ones doing the work. What matters most are the people.”