AIDS Coalition of Southern NJ
The mission of the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey (ACSNJ) is to be the region's premier comprehensive resource for people affected by HIV or AIDS. Through leadership and community collaboration, ACSNJ strives to provide the highest culturally sensitive quality care, education and prevention services.
The AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey was formed in 1988 and incorporated in 1989. It currently serves Burlington, Gloucester, Salem and Camden Counties. It is supported by the United Way of the four counties, state and federal AIDS grants, and donations from friends of the agency. ACSNJ is a multi-service agency serving both the AIDS infected and affected communities. It is the only agency in the region that provides such a comprehensive approach to assisting individuals and families.
In an email correspondence with Arthur Dion, President and CEO for ACSNJ, he explains, “Unfortunately there still is no cure for HIV/AIDS and people continue to get infected with this preventable disease. Based on the New Jersey HIV/AIDS Report (www.state.nj.us/health) dated June 2006, there are over 33,300 people living with AIDS in the state. In fact, New Jersey ranks first in the proportion of women living with HIV/AIDS, third in pediatric cases and fifth in cumulative AIDS cases. In the four county areas that our agency serves (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester & Salem) there are over 2,500 individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Given these statistics and the fact that New Jersey’s infection rate continues to increase at twice the national average, it is critical that individuals obtain accurate information about HIV/AIDS and about available services.”
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Dion writes, “ACSNJ provides a variety of free services to those affected by HIV/AIDS including a Buddy Program, Case Management, Discharge Planning for those who are incarcerated, Health Education / Risk reduction classes, HIV counseling and testing using the Oraquick Advanced Rapid Test, Legal Services, Community Outreach, Employment Program, Food Bank Program, Prevention Services, Ray of Hope Drop-in Center in Camden City, Speaker’s Bureau, Support Groups, Transitional Housing and Transportation. Although we do not provide medical treatment, we are able to refer clients to HIV specialists in the area.”
How can people get involved with this organization? ACSNJ has lots of opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of others. Take a few minutes to talk with their volunteer coordinator and discuss how you might like to get involved in helping people living with HIV/AIDS. Volunteer Orientation and HIV 101 training classes are conducted monthly at the ACSNJ offices in Bellmawr, NJ. Teens can get involved in our Teen AIDS Line. They also have internships through AmeriCorps available for those wanting to participate in a larger community service commitment while earning money towards education. If you have previous board experience, professional skills in fund-raising, finance/accounting, or have a background in HIV/AIDS/Infectious Disease medicine, and may be interested in becoming a Board Trustee, please call 856-933-9500. Anyone interested in helping can view different opportunities and upcoming events on their website at www.acsnj.org.
Dion also writes, “As a non-profit organization we are always looking for donations to the agency. We accept in-kind donations of personal care items, toiletries, food, small furniture, business clothing in great condition, seasonal clothing donations for our thrift store and more. Donors can also choose to contribute a monetary donation. Credit card donations are accepted over the phone at 856-933-9500, ext. 207. Checks should be made payable to ACSNJ and mailed to 100 Essex Avenue, Suite 300, Bellmawr, NJ 08031. Please be sure to specify where you would like your donation to go - to general operating expenses or to a specific program.”
How do those in need benefit from having an organization like ACSNJ in South Jersey? Dion writes, “Oftentimes, individuals who are diagnosed as HIV+ feel overwhelmed, lost and confused. ACSNJ educates people of all ages about what services are available to help them and their families. Through our own programs, as well as a network of collaborations with other local agencies, we ensure that our client’s needs for care are met.”
HIV/AIDS can affect anyone. This is why it is so important to get tested and learn your status. If you have not been tested, then you just don’t know. Medical treatment for HIV/AIDS has advanced significantly over the past few years and early detection and care gives you the best chance of fighting this disease. For more information on testing, please contact ACSNJ’s Ray of Hope Drop-in Center at 856-338-1344.
For more information about this organization, visit their website at www.acsnj.org. You can also call 856-933-9500, Monday through Friday from 8:30am-5pm.
For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.
Author: Margo Harvey
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