The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a 3-year, $44 million, Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on June 8, 2012 focused largely on Deep South States with the goal of reducing HIV-related deaths and related health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. SASI’s Research Report, HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the South Reaches Crisis Proportions in Last Decade, was relied on extensively in the FOA. Eighteen State Health Departments are eligible to apply for funding including 12 in the South. 25% of funds received by State Health Departments must go to community based organizations.
The focus of the funding is to (1) increase the proportion of racial and ethnic minorities with HIV who have diagnosed infection by increasing testing capacity and (2) optimize linkage to, retention in, and re-engagement with care and prevention services for newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed racial and ethnic minorities with HIV.
Successful applicants will first engage in a six-month development phase with leadership and oversight provided by a multi-agency federal partnership lead by the Centers for Disease Control. The deadline for applications is July 31, 2012.
The FOA is the latest result of powerful, well-organized advocacy to deliver our message regarding the serious HIV epidemic in the Southern States. In the past year, the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative (“SASI”) , the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC), the 30 for 30 Campaign and many other groups and individuals have made the case for the South with the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), at the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), at the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP) meeting, with members of Congress, and on the state and local levels. This work has been supported by multiple funders, including the Ford Foundation and AIDS United.
There is much work left to be done to end HIV-related deaths and stop new HIV infections in the South. SASI applauds the leadership of HHS for this funding initiative which is a significant first step towards accomplishing these goals.