A South End resident has received a social justice award for her work with AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
Rebecca Haag, South End resident and president and CEO of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, was awarded the 2012 Wainwright Social Justice Award by Eastern Bank this month.
The award, established by Wainwright Bank 24 years ago, recognizes nonprofits and individuals working with them to successfully address social justice issues.
“Under Rebecca’s innovative leadership, AIDS Action has worked to establish fair and effective AIDS policies, and cutting edge HIV prevention,” Richard E. Holbrook, chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank, said in a statement.
“Massachusetts is a healthier community because of the work accomplished by Rebecca and AIDS Action. We wish them continued success,” he said.
AIDS Action is the largest AIDS service organization in New England and the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection.
The Roxbury-based organization offers HIV counseling and testing, needle exchange, mental health counseling, housing assistance, and legal services while working to educate the public about HIV prevention and care.
“From the very start of this epidemic, we have come together as a community to fight AIDS,” Haag said in a statement. “Gay men, suburban moms, straight black men – you name the demographic and I guarantee that they have been at the table helping.”
According to the organization, Massachusetts has seen the number of new HIV diagnoses drop by 54 percent, or the equivalent of more than 5,000 people, since 1999. That drop will lead to more than $2 billion in health care cost savings for the state, AIDS Action estimates.
AIDS Action will also receive $25,000 from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation as part of the award.
“Public funding for this disease – which is not over, by the way—is rapidly shrinking and the money provided by Eastern Bank and others is critical to our success,” Haag said.
Eastern Bank also honored 30 other community health care organizations from around the state at the reception.