Project Inform has terminated its staff and is expected to close, according to The Bay Area Reporter.
“Despite the continued success and evolution of our work in HIV and hepatitis C virus—two of the most stigmatizing diseases in the United States—we have not been able to successfully navigate the current funding environment,” explained the Project Inform staff in an announcement to be released March 15, reports the newspaper.
The organization fought the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics by advocating for treatments, research, education and quality health care. It was launched by Martin Delaney and Joe Brewer in 1984, when AIDS was devastating the San Francisco community.
Project Inform had seen recent success in helping launch San Francisco’s Getting to Zero plan (meaning zero HIV infections, zero AIDS deaths and zero stigma by 2020), and in January, the group worked with AIDS United to release a report on efforts to bring safer consumption spaces—protected and supervised places for injection drug users—to the United States.
Last June, POZ reported that David Evans was appointed interim executive director after Dana Van Gorder, who led the group for more than a decade, announced he was stepping down.
The Bay Area Reporter notes that the expected closure comes as a surprise to the staff, who have displayed an optimistic tone in their comments. The ex-staffers wrote:
“Thirty-five years hence [our founding], life with HIV is counted in decades rather than weeks or months and HIV can’t be transmitted when viral suppression is achieved. As well, people wishing to protect themselves from HIV transmission have an additional powerful tool, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Hepatitis C is curable and people who use drugs may soon have greater access to services that will keep them alive.
“Above all, the millions of pieces of print and electronic publications we’ve offered people freely, the videos we’ve disseminated, and the hundreds of thousands of hours spent counseling individuals on the phone or by chat have helped ensure that people know about these facts and can use them to positively impact their own lives and the lives of the people they love or provide care for.
“When an organization touches so many lives around the globe for so many years, it is impossible to assess its legacy. We trust, however, that Project Inform’s legacy will resound for years to come and influence our own work and that of countless others who have dedicated so much and continue to do so.”