NEW BRUNSWICK: Gov. Chris Christie and Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd announced Tuesday the state will award $19.5 million in grants to help provide HIV/AIDS tests.
The governor made the announcement at the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, which has had a partnership with the state the past 27 years. Hyacinth would receive $2.1 million. A total of 50 community health centers will receive the grants.
There are 36,000 residents living with HIV or AIDS.
The state already provides money to HIV patients for medication and insurance with the help of federal funds.
“Every life is precious,” Christie said. “Everyone deserves a second chance. They are shining examples of that.”
The funding will help set up HIV tests at 140 sites throughout the state.
Christie described HIV as a “chronic disease,” but the patients could still live productive lives.
Other centers that received the grants include the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, ($1.9 million); Cooper Health System in Camden ($976,753), Newark Beth Israel Medical Center ($786,835), Camden Area Health Education Center ($704,642), Jersey City Medical Center ($648,000), the John Brooks Recovery Center in Atlantic City ($679,245) and the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City ($678,529).
In a statement, O’Dowd said the grants “ensure that more New Jersey residents will know how to protect themselves, have the opportunity to get tested and get the treatment they need. Working with our partners, we can reduce the transmission of HIV and improve the quality of life of those living with HIV/AIDS.’’