892 South Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104
Executive Director: Will Batts
State of Tennessee Cuts Support for HIV Testing Partner Planned Parenthood
Memphis, TN, February 8, 2012: Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) will be unable to offer Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing tonight and for the foreseeable future. For more than three years, MGLCC has collaborated with Planned Parenthood to provide the only regularly-scheduled, after-hours HIV testing in the Mid-South. This afternoon, Planned Parenthood representatives informed MGLCC that they do not have the funds necessary to provide the HIV testing for the foreseeable future because the State of Tennessee has denied Planned Parenthood access to grants for HIV prevention. The cut in funding for Planned Parenthood has put MGLCC’s model HIV testing program in jeopardy.
Despite MGLCC’s core mission to focus on the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community, the HIV testing program offered at MGLCC has always been open to anyone needing a test. MGLCC does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. MGLCC believes that helping clients find out their HIV status and find access to appropriate HIV care is an essential service not only for the individual, but for the health and well-being of our entire city. More than 500 individuals have been tested by the HIV testing program offered by MGLCC since the program’s inception in 2008. Will Batts, Executive Director of MGLCC, says “Our strong collaboration with Planned Parenthood to provide HIV testing has improved the lives of hundreds of people every year. Losing this vital program will put the health and well-being of many Memphians at risk. MGLCC considers the setback to our HIV testing program a great tragedy, but we hope the setback will be only a temporary one.”
MGLCC has been working diligently to obtain direct funding to expand our testing capacity and to create a stronger HIV education and outreach program for the LGBT community. MGLCC will continue to explore other avenues of support so that we can resume this vital, life-saving service to the Mid-South.