Program: New Jersey Aids Services (NJAS)
Laurie has been with the Eric Johnson house since it was founded in 1994. She presented a history of the organization. Early residents of the EJ house with Aids had no options and have passed away. Later, medical treatments became available so residents lived longer and have broader needs. The organization provides many services and tries to deliver them efficiently. Some clients have improved enough that they go off welfare.
A major goal is to provide education to people ranging from middle schools thru college students on up to the older adults. Unfortunately, the population has lost interest in education because there is medical treatment now. But the problem is still very bad. There is continuing discrimination and unfair treatment of HIV/Aids patients. June 5 1981 is the first recorded date of HIV. After 30 years there is still a lot of misunderstanding.
NJAS worked with other NJ organizations to have a single Aids Walk for raising funds and awareness. Volunteers are helpful in many tasks, like driving people to appointments. ShopRite gift cards are used to buy groceries. Service organizations are urged to hold food and household product drives. Laurie left members a list of items that are needed.
New Jersey has about 75,000 reported HIV cases with almost 35,000 still living. About 1100 HIV patients live in Morris County. The rate of infection has not decreased, world-wide. To learn more, please visit the NJAS website http://www.theericjohnsonhouse.org/