Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund Supports $14.2 Million in Awards to 8 States to Improve HIV Testing and Engagement in Care

Content From: Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: September 28, 20123 min read


Ronald Valdiserri
Dr. Ronald Valdiserri

This week, our partners at CDC announced that eight state health departments have been awarded a total of $14.2 million in first-year funding under a new, innovative, three-year cross-HHS demonstration project aligned with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). The eight states – Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia – have a high burden of HIV among African-Americans and Latinos and the demonstration project is designed to reduce HIV-related morbidity, mortality, and related health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities by addressing social, economic, clinical and structural factors influencing HIV health outcomes.

“This new program funding represents a carefully planned movement that specifically joins together HIV prevention and treatment into a holistic statewide continuum of service. That is what people with HIV need and it is what we intend to deliver," observed Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

The Care and Prevention in the United States (CAPUS) Demonstration Project was open to 18 state/territorial health departments in the United States with disproportionately high burdens of HIV/AIDS among minority communities. Specifically, the eligible jurisdictions had more than 5,000 HIV cases among African Americans and Latinos and an AIDS diagnosis rate of over 6 per 100,000, which focuses this initiative on disproportionately affected geographic areas.

The primary goals of the project are three-fold:

  1. Increase the proportion of racial/ethnic minorities with HIV who have diagnosed infection by expanding and improving HIV testing capacity
  2. Optimize linkage to, retention in, and re-engagement with care and prevention services for newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed racial/ethnic minorities with HIV
  3. Address social, economic, clinical, and structural factors influencing HIV health outcomes

The demonstration project is funded by the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF), which is administered by my office, the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP). (Read my earlier blog post about how the rest of the Fiscal Year 2012 SMAIF was allocated.) In keeping with the spirit and goals of the NHAS, and in recognition of the complex, interrelated, and multi-sectorial nature of the demonstration project’s goals, a multi-agency federal partnership will provide leadership for the activities. CDC serves as the lead agency, with participation from OHAIDP, Office of Minority Health, Office on Women’s Health, HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau and Bureau of Primary Health Care, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

By concentrating these resources in communities that bear a disproportionate burden, providing assistance from multiple HHS agencies and offices, and requiring the grantees to use a minimum of 25% of the total award to fund community-based organizations serving racial/ethnic minority populations, we expect that the CAPUS project will contribute significantly to NHAS goals over the next three years.

Over the coming year, we’ll share occasional updates and highlights from the CAPUS demonstration project. In the meantime, what interventions would you suggest that could improve HIV testing or engagement/retention in care among racial/ethnic minorities? Share your suggestions in the Comments section below.