25 Bipartisan Members of Congress Urge CDC & White House to Expand HIV Prevention Funding for Rural & Suburban Areas in Deep South

See the Press Release below from Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) announcing the request by 25 bipartisan members of Congress for expanded HIV prevention funding from the CDC for rural and smaller urban areas in the Deep South.

Congressional Seal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Contact: Shadawn Reddick-Smith (Adams): 202-225-1510

                Jack Pandol (Boustany): 202-225-2031

                Erin M. Hale (Murphy): 202-225-3026

 25 BIPARTISAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS URGE CDC & WHITE HOUSE TO EXPAND HIV PREVENTION FUNDING FOR RURAL & SUBURBAN AREAS IN DEEP SOUTH STATES 

Members Support CDC HIV Prevention Funding For Urban Areas; Urge CDC to Expand HIV Prevention Funding for Rural and Suburban Areas 

Washington, DC – Representatives Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL) and 21 other Members of Congress sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House urging for HIV prevention funding to be expanded in rural and suburban areas in nine Deep South states including: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The CDC’s funding announcement PS15-1502: Comprehensive High-Impact HIV Prevention Projects for Community-Based Organizations, is only available to community based organizations located in highly populated areas with high HIV infection rates. Under the program, community organizations can apply for funding to carry out HIV prevention services and testing. However, this one-size-fits-all approach restricts eligibility for community based organizations (CBOs) not in heavily populated cities and leaves behind many areas impacted by HIV in Deep South states including: 70 percent of those with HIV in South Carolina; 69 percent of those with HIV in Alabama; 63 percent of those with HIV in North Carolina; 57 percent of those with HIV in Mississippi; 33 percent of those with HIV in Georgia; 32 percent of those with HIV in Louisiana; 27 percent of those with HIV in Tennessee; 21 percent of those with HIV in Texas; and 21 percent of those with HIV in Florida.

“Early diagnosis and increased access to quality medical care, treatment, and ongoing prevention services for those living with HIV is key to addressing the epidemic in the United States,” said Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12). “I support the CDC’s efforts to address HIV infection in our most heavily impacted urban areas. However, in North Carolina – Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point are not eligible to access critical HIV prevention resources under PS15-1502. This leaves more than 4,200 people impacted by the disease in those cities behind – and puts many more at risk. I urge the CDC to expand eligibility for prevention funding, so that we can better combat this disease.”

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one third of Louisianans living with HIV live in rural areas of our state,” said Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (LA-3). “As a doctor, I want to make sure these individuals aren’t left behind. The White House must not forget the rural areas of the Deep South and our own particular healthcare needs while fighting to eradicate HIV in the United States.”

“With the highest number of new HIV cases in the country, Florida requires a robust federal partnership to maintain the resources necessary to refocus on prevention and tackle this ongoing epidemic head on,”  said Congressman Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18).  “I thank Congresswoman Adams for her leadership on this urgent issue, calling for an expansion of funding opportunities to make sure high-needs regions—including in Florida—will not see a shortfall in funding for their continuing prevention efforts.”

According to the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative (SASI), in 2011, southern states accounted for only 37 percent of the U.S. population, but represented 49 percent of national HIV diagnoses. A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the CDC shows that the nine Deep South states are in the top 25 states with the highest percentage of people living with undiagnosed HIV infection.

Currently, only 33 cities qualify for the CDC’s High-Impact HIV Prevention funding: Atlanta, Sandy Springs (GA); Austin, Round Rock, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Baytown, Sugar Land (TX); Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner (LA), Birmingham, Hoover (AL), Charlotte, Concord, Raleigh, Cary, Gastonia (NC), Columbia (SC), Jackson (MS), Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville (FL), Nashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro, Memphis (TN); and Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport (VA). No other cities or towns within these states qualify for the funding.

The Bipartisan group of 25 Members of Congress supports the targeting of significant HIV prevention resources to heavily impacted urban areas but urge the CDC to consider broadening the eligibility for community-based organizations in rural and suburban areas.

In addition to Reps. Alma S. Adams,  Mo Brooks, Charles Boustany, Jr. and Patrick Murphy, the letter was signed by: Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), Rep. Corinne Brown (D-FL), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL), Rep. Alan Grayson (R-FL), Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Rep. David E. Price (D-NC), Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Rep Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL).

Full text of the letter to the CDC and the White House is here.

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