Indianapolis Project Reaches African Americans with Free HIV Testing and Support

From August 2001 through July 2005, staff and volunteers with the Ebenezer Baptist Church Dollars for Scholars, now known as the Ebenezer Church Foundation, created its Bridging the Gap Project to provide free HIV testing and counseling and care coordination to people living with HIV/AIDS. People served were predominantly African Americans in Indianapolis and the surrounding Marion County, Ind.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Local Funding Partnerships.

Key Results

  • During the four years of RWJF funding, project staff provided:

    • HIV testing, and counseling before and after the test, to 2,567 people, approximately 85 percent of whom were African American.
    • HIV/AIDS care coordination to approximately 700 people, more than 60 percent of whom were African American.

Two client stories illustrate the impact of the Bridging the Gap program:

Johnny Williams, a former finance company manager, landed in Indianapolis in November 2005, alone, depressed and on disability after a long stay in the hospital to treat his AIDS. Bridging the Gap helped connect him to a variety of medical and social services in the community. Then it offered him the opportunity to use his business experience to serve his fellow community members living with HIV/AIDS.