AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA) started in Burke County, North Carolina, in 1987 as a grassroots effort to provide support services to those affected by HIV/AIDS. Noticing that the number of HIV cases were rising with little to no coordinated effort to provide help to those in need, community members joined forces to create an AIDS Task Force. As word spread about the group, the influx of request for services grew. The organization expanded its scope and activity and membership began to grow. Two years later, the group officially registered as a nonprofit under the name AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA). Since then, ALFA has come to serve nine counties in the Appalachian Mountains and foothills of rural Northwestern North Carolina.
Over the years, ALFA’s services have expanded to include community outreach, rapid testing and case management services. With a staff of only nine, ALFA continues to adapt and address national, state and regional public health concerns related to HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases throughout the region.
“ALFA fills a vital gap in our community by providing HIV prevention, education, screening and support services at no charge. We enjoy a strong reputation in the community for quality, compassionate, judgment-free services delivered to those most in need,” said Chris Kliesch, Executive Director at ALFA.
The organization’s education programs are provided in a variety of settings including schools, homeless shelters, nightclubs, and clinics. ALFA’s extensive case management department provides unmatchable support in helping HIV-positive individuals acquire affordable healthcare and medication, medical transportation, long-term housing, nutritional services and more. In 2016, ALFA provided educational services to more than 4,000 people, administered over 1,050 HIV tests, and offered case management services to 200 individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
“Funding from organizations such as DIFFA support ALFA’s core services and allows the agency to be innovative in delivering services that fit our community’s needs. With funds from DIFFA we can provide safe sex supplies, fourth generation HIV testing kits, education about PrEP, and bring our operations technology into the 21st century,” Kliesch explained.
ALFA plans to continue developing partnerships to expand its reach and capacity to spread awareness and provide critical life-changing services to individuals impacted by HIV.
To learn more about ALFA’s mission and work in the fight against HIV/AIDS visit www.alfainfo.org