The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that they are awarding $35 million to state and local health departments. The money is to be used to increase HIV testing among those groups most affected by the disease, in particular African Americans. The awards range from $690,000 to $5.4 million and are going to 23 states and cities.
The aim of the program is to test more than 1 million people in the hope that they can increase the early detection of HIV among African Americans. The program is focused on areas in which African Americans have been the hardest hit by the disease. African Americans make up about half of the more than 1 million Americans who are estimated to have HIV, but they only make up 13% of the U.S. population.
The CDC estimates that about 25% of those who have HIV, which amounts to about 250,000 Americans, do not know they are infected. .
They estimate that the program should be able to identify close to 20,000 people making it possible for them to get the medical intervention they need.
This program will mostly be available in settings such as emergency rooms community health centers, STD clinics, and correctional health facilities.
In addition to HIV testing, the funds will be used for finding care, counseling partners, referral services and to purchase HIV tests. Another focus of the program will be to integrate the HIV testing with screening and prevention programs for other infections, such as viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis due to the fact that those populations who are most affected by HIV are also more affected by these as well and by integrating the testing services, they feel they can significantly improve health.
The states receiving funding are: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, D.C. And the cities receiving funding are Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York City.
This $35 million is a part of the new $45 million program of expanded access to HIV testing. The other $10 million will be used to support a wide range of CDC programs that will provide the much needed training to health care provider, mobilize the communities to encourage HIV testing in the African American population and see to it that both health care providers and those who are at risk of HIV get the information they need about the importance of being tested.
Source: Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/