HHS Selects Phase 1 Winners of the National Competition to Reduce HIV-Related Stigma and Disparities

Content From: Office Of Minority Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human ServicesPublished: January 06, 20223 min read


Cross-posted from OMH Newsroom

Washington, D.C.—Fifteen organizations and individuals have won the first phase of the HIV Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) in partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP). The HIV Challenge was created to engage individuals, communities, and community-based organizations to identify innovative and practical approaches to reduce HIV stigma and disparities and increase prevention and treatment among racial and ethnic minority communities. The 15 winners were chosen from more than 80 submissions from individuals and organizations from around the U.S. Each Phase 1 winner will receive a prize of $20,000 and will advance to the second phase of the challenge.

“We have treatments that have been proven effective at keeping HIV at an undetectable level and preventing the transmission of the virus to others. Despite these advances in HIV prevention and treatment tools, not everyone is benefiting equally,” said RADM Felicia Collins, M.D., HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and OMH Director. “With this challenge, we are looking for community-driven approaches to reduce stigma and reach those experiencing risk for HIV who are not accessing PrEP and/or those living with HIV who are not accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART)”  

“The HIV Challenge supports our efforts to end the HIV epidemic in America by engaging community voices and mobilizing them to identify new approaches to improve the use of effective HIV prevention and treatment options,” said OIDP Acting Director, Kaye Hayes. “To address inequalities, this challenge prioritizes racial and ethnic minorities disproportionally impacted by HIV.”

The HIV Challenge is divided into three phases with a total award of $760,000. During Phase I, HHS identified innovative concepts for community engagement strategies to reduce stigma related to HIV prevention and treatment within a specific target population. During the second phase, the participants will advance in the competition for the chance to win up to $40,000. The 15 Phase 2 participants will expand upon their winning concepts by developing approaches that can enhance community engagement and mobilization regarding the reduction of HIV stigma and disparities. Up to seven approaches will be selected to move on to Phase 3, where participants will conduct small-scale testing on the dissemination and uptake of their approaches to demonstrate how well the population of focus accesses the approaches. A panel of judges, all federal employees, will select three submissions as the overall HIV Challenge winners to receive a prize of $60,000 each.

For more information about the HIV Challenge, visit the OMH Website

The 15 Phase 1 awardees are:


Aima Ahonkhai


Dorelle Dushime


The Drew CARES team


Edison College of Nursing and Health Innovation


Equitas Health Institute


Girls Talk TV Inc.


Haus of Shadez Coordinator


Hispanic Health Initiatives, Inc.


Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health


Miguel Bujanda


Pride Center of Maryland


Southside Health Advocacy Resource Partnership (S.H.A.R.P.)


The T.R.U.T.H. Project


University of Southern California: M.S. Global Medicine


West Alabama AIDS Outreach, Inc. DBA Five Horizons Health Services


The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides public health and science advice to the Secretary, and oversees the Department’s broad-ranging public health offices, whose missions include minority health, HIV policy, women’s health, disease prevention, human research protections, and others. OASH also includes the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

The OASH Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) mission is to provide strategic leadership and management, while encouraging collaboration, coordination, and innovation among federal agencies and stakeholders to reduce the burden of infectious diseases.

The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities.