NAESM (National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities) , Incorporated was founded in 1990 by Rudolph H. Carn, the late Madam Edna Brown and Mae Gratis Reed. NAESM’s founders saw a need to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic that infected and affected their friends, neighbors, and partners. The organization was established to address health disparities that disproportionately impacted the African American community, particularly Black gay men. Founders Carn, Brown, and Reed formed a community based organization on the human principle love. The organization’s motto, “We Love You, Love Yourself, Be Healthy” was created to assure the targeted population that NAESM cares, vows to be a support system, and ultimately help individuals live healthier lives.
For more than 25 years, the organization has prioritized its mission to increase minority populations’ access to free-HIV testing, linkage to care and treatment in the Atlanta Metropolitan area and throughout the state of Georgia. Originally, NAESM’s response to the incidence rates of HIV/AIDS infections involved community outreach through educational sessions, group meetings, and peer-lead programs. These programs were designed to educate and inform individuals about HIV prevention, fight stigma and discrimination. As medical technology advanced, NAESM became the leading organization to successfully conduct HIV testing throughout disenfranchised and impoverished communities where African Americans reside and work. Subsequently, NAESM was recognized as a leading national organization that served Black gay men throughout the United States with community mobilization projects, health education sessions, public health campaigns, and HIV testing and linkage to care services.
In many ways, the organization has continued to develop cutting-edge strategies to conduct HIV prevention activities to help reduce percentage of new HIV infections. In addition, NAESM aims to assure that those individuals living with HIV have quick, affordable, and culturally sensitive medical care. This approach is reflected not only in the incredible partnerships the organization has developed throughout the years, but by NAESM’s ability to provide culturally competent care to Atlanta communities.