HHS Minority HIV/AIDS Fund Supports STD Specialty Clinics to Scale Up HIV Services

Content From: Leandro Mena, MD, MPH, Director, Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Published: August 18, 20213 min read


National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers

Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) is a whole-of-society effort that requires providing services to people with and at risk for HIV wherever they seek care.  Common across the HIV, STI, and viral hepatitis national strategic plans is the guiding policy of a holistic, whole-of-nation approach to address the syndemic of STIs, HIV, viral hepatitis, high-risk substance use[1], and social determinants of health that impact related health disparities and inequities[2]. STD specialty clinics are critical partners in ending the HIV epidemic as they provide services to people who may not otherwise have access to health care, including those who are uninsured and people who are looking for low-barrier, expert, and confidential services (e.g., non-traditional hours, walk-in or express appointments, low or no cost).  Successful integration of HIV prevention services in STD specialty clinics, which is a crucial piece of a syndemic approach to HIVs and STDs, will require increased training and capacity.

In August 2020, with support from the HHS Minority HIV/AIDS Fund (MHAF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $4 million to supplement the National Network of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinical Prevention Training Centers. Eight regional prevention training centers (PTCs) and two national centers received funds to bolster training and technical assistance (T/TA) efforts. This will allow STD specialty clinics throughout the nation that serve a high proportion of racial/ethnic and sexual and gender minority populations to better provide HIV prevention services.  This supplemental funding helps extend the reach of T/TA to STD specialty clinics in EHE jurisdictions across the country, in addition to STD specialty clinics that have received EHE funding previously.

During the first year, PTCs identified STD specialty clinics to participate in this project.  PTCs worked with these participating STD specialty clinics to:

  • assess training needs and service gaps to inform the development and delivery of comprehensive HIV and STD clinical prevention T/TA for providers serving priority populations;
  • improve data collection and reporting capacity to determine success in meeting needs of racial/ethnic and sexual and gender minority populations; and
  • provide distance-based (web or phone) consultations and resources related to telehealth, HIV PrEP, and other HIV service integration activities.

To continue and expand on this progress, in August 2021 the HHS MHAF awarded an additional $4.3 million for year two.  With this additional funding, awardees will:

  • provide support to providers and clinical settings to further integrate HIV preventive services in STD specialty clinics;
  • develop resources, curricula, and learning communities specifically to support the increase of HIV preventive services in STD specialty clinics; and
  • work with STD specialty clinics to deliver high-quality, affirming, and culturally and linguistically relevant services for racial/ethnic and sexual and gender minority populations.

Learn more about the need for increased STD specialty clinic capacity in the HIV National Strategic Plan, STI National Strategic Plan, and the NASEM report, Sexually Transmitted Infections: Adopting a Sexual Health ParadigmExit Disclaimer

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2020. Sexually Transmitted Infections National Strategic Plan for the United States: 2021–2025. Washington, DC.

[2] Dean HD, Fenton KA. Addressing social determinants of health in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis. Public Health Rep. 2010;125(Suppl 4):1-5. doi:10.1177/00333549101250S401.