Leveraging Community Serving Organizations to Expand HIV Self-Testing

Content From: Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, RADM and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS, Director, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Judy Monroe, MD, President and CEO, CDC Foundation Published: May 23, 20223 min read


Jonathan Mermin and Judy Monroe

CDC Foundation Accepting Proposals until June 6

Forty-one years after the world learned about the first five cases of what later became known as AIDS, our fight to end HIV continues. As in previous years, this June we will mark observances pertaining to HIV, including HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day on June 5, and National HIV Testing Day (NHTD)—a day to emphasize and encourage HIV testing—on June 27.

From now until June 6, the CDC Foundation—the congressionally authorized nonprofit supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) mission to save and improve lives—will accept proposalsExit Disclaimer to expand the capacity of community-serving organizations (CSOs) to implement or enhance HIV self-testing services in communities most affected by HIV.

The CDC Foundation is partnering with Community Education Group, a West Virginia-based HIV prevention-focused organization, to provide technical assistance, capacity-building support, and discounted bulk HIV self-tests for CSOs funded under this project. CSOs can applyExit Disclaimer for up to $100,000 to implement programs that increase HIV self-testing, and by doing so improve the health of persons with HIV and reduce HIV incidence. Priority funding will be given to organizations working in one of the 57 priority jurisdictions identified by the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative.

Why is this funding opportunity important? The transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) hasn’t stopped during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While knowing one’s HIV status helps people get linked to HIV prevention or the treatment services they need for optimal health outcomes, 1 in 8 people (PDF 2.6 MB) with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they have it. Approximately 158,500 people (PDF 14.7 MB) with HIV in the U.S. are undiagnosed and not benefiting from early diagnosis and antiretroviral treatment.

Self-testing, the use of which has greatly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made HIV testing more accessible to those in rural, traditionally underserved, and stigmatized communities. Healthcare delivery is often a challenge in these communities, which include populations where frequent HIV testing is recommended. Throughout the pandemic, CSOs have complimented the work of state and local health departments, meeting the needs of people where they are and expanding health services to places and people not fully benefiting from existing HIV prevention services.

With the right funding and support, CSOs can tailor HIV self-testing programs to be culturally and linguistically appropriate; work with local businesses, schools, and churches to communicate the importance of knowing one’s HIV status; and locate and train spokespersons who already have the trust and respect of their communities.

CSOs interested in this funding opportunity can learn more from the request for proposalsExit Disclaimer. Application materials must be submittedExit Disclaimer by Monday, June 6, 2022, by 12 p.m. EST. Please note, CSOs that have been awarded CDC funding through either NOFO PS21-2102 (see 96 funded organizations) or NOFO PS22-2203 (see 36 funded organizations) are ineligible for this CDC Foundation funding opportunity.