New Network of Black HIV Policy Advocates Tackle the Disproportionate Impact of HIV in Black Communities Living in the U.S. South

Dallas, Texas - Today, the Southern Black Policy & Advocacy Network, a non-profit focused on improving health outcomes and reducing social and economic disparities impacting Black communities living in the U.S. South, launched the Southern Black HIV/AIDS Network’s Advisory Council to provide strategic direction, and organize Black leaders in the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. South.


The Southern Black HIV/AIDS Network Advisory Council is compiled of a group of passionate Black HIV policy advocates from across the U.S. South committed to improving the federal, state, and local HIV landscape for Black communities in the U.S. South.


To help raise awareness about the HIV policy and advocacy needs of Black communities in the U.S. South, today The Southern Black HIV/AIDS Network is launching the Organizing to End Black HIV NOW ( a campaign focused on organizing and mobilizing Black HIV leaders and advocates on the front lines of ending the epidemic in the U.S. South.


“I am inspired by the leaders who have coalesced to support the Southern Black HIV/AIDS Network. This is a critical moment in the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS in the U.S. South. I am honored to spend the next year working with these dynamic Black leaders who fight daily to make Black communities heard in health equity policy and advocacy,“ said Venton Hill-Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network.


The U.S. South continues to be the epicenter for the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic. Over half (54%) of all new HIV diagnoses occur in the South despite the region representing only 38% of the total U.S. population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black communities account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses, those living with HIV, and those who have ever received an AIDS diagnosis, compared to other races/ethnicities. In 2016, African Americans accounted for 43% of HIV diagnoses, though they comprise 13% of the U.S. population.


By working with our core audience of Black HIV leaders including senior, mid-career, and emerging - policymakers, advocates, health care providers, funders, and the media, we will create and implement a strategic roadmap that will bring about effective changes in policy, programs, and resources to improve HIV/AIDS, and other health outcomes for Black communities living in the U.S. South.


2019 Southern Black HIV/AIDS Network Advisory Council

Aquarius Gilmer, MS, Southern HIV Coalition, Alabama   

Dr. Bambi Gaddist, South Carolina HIV Council, South Carolina                

Devin Barrington-Ward, Black Futurists Group, Georgia

Carmarion Anderson, Black Transwomen, Inc., Texas

Linda Dixon Rigsby, Esq., Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi

Linda Goler-Blount, MPH, Black Women's Health Imperative, Washington, DC

Lisa Diane White, Sister Love, Georgia       

Dr. June Gibson, My Brother's Keeper, Mississippi  

Mark Johnson, Brotherhood, Inc., Louisiana

Sabrina Taylor, Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network

Dr. Tonia Poteat, The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, North Carolina              

Ventia Ray, Esq., Positive Women’s Network-USA, Texas

Raniyah Copeland, MPH, The Black AIDS Institute, National

Stephen Hicks, MPH, Virginia

Venton Hill-Jones, MSHCAD, Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network