STI Funding & Resources to Support Syndemic Approaches

Content From: Nate Fecik, MPH, Senior Advisor on Syndemics, Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: February 17, 20234 min read



Many communities have adopted syndemic approaches to address the intersecting conditions of HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis, substance use disorder, and mental health, an approach encouraged by both the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the STI National Strategic Plan. Recently announced STI opportunities may be of interest to readers engaged in syndemic approaches in their communities.

A syndemic is the clustering and interaction of two or more diseases, resulting from social and structural determinants of health (SDOH), which leads to an excess burden of disease and ongoing health disparities in affected populations. Syndemic approaches leverage and integrate a variety of health care, social services, and other community support programs and policies to improve health care outcomes and quality of life.

Below is information about some current and upcoming STI opportunities.

Funding Opportunity: Community Engagement for Syphilis Reduction

NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials), in partnership with CDC, recently announced two new funding opportunities to decrease syphilis via community engagement. Both opportunities focus on engaging community members to develop, or tailor, a plan to decrease syphilis burden in the local community.

Community engagement is pivotal for public health and central to a syndemic approach. It is a process that seeks out insight from the community into their own needs and priorities. Involving community members, including people with lived experience, in a community engagement and planning process can identify challenges that contribute to the increases in syphilis, reduce stigma, and help improve sexual health literacy. It can also facilitate opportunities to develop or enhance interventions that can contribute to better sexual health outcomes (e.g., decreasing syphilis, congenital syphilis, HIV, and/or other STIs).

The first opportunity is Community Engagement to Strengthen Local Health Department Approaches to Decreasing SyphilisExit Disclaimer (PDF, 314KB) for which any local health department is eligible to apply, and which can be used to focus on a specific population, geographic area, or other target identified by local data which experiences significant syphilis burden. NACCHO will fund up to 8 health departments $75,000-$150,000 each, for this process.

The second is Community Engagement to Strengthen Approaches to Decreasing Syphilis Among American Indian/Alaska Native PopulationsExit Disclaimer (PDF, 471KB) which is open for applications from health departments (local or tribal/IHS facilities) to use community engagement approaches to develop, or tailor, a plan to address syphilis within AI/AN communities. Non-AI/AN organizations applying for this RFA must do so in partnership with AI/AN organizations already engaged with the community (i.e., Indian health organizations or health boards). This opportunity is available for up to three entities for $75,000-$150,000 each.

Applications for both RFAs are due on March 3, 2023.

Funding Opportunity: STOP STDs Technical Assistance

CDC has published a Notice of Funding Announcement (NOFO), Support Technical Assistance Opportunities for Program, Policy, & Communications to Prevent STDs (STOP STDs), to fund organizations with national reach to provide technical assistance (TA) to state, local, and territorial, STD/HIV public health programs. The NOFO activities will provide TA to public health programs on systems, policy and communication, partnerships, special and emerging STD program projects, and leadership education and training to advance STD prevention objectives.

An informational webinar will be held February 24, 2023, for applicants. To attend register hereExit Disclaimer. Webinar slides and FAQs will be posted to this site later.

Applications are due April 17, 2023. Full details about this NOFO are available at

CDC Success Story Highlights STD Specialty Clinics Roles in Ending the HIV Epidemic

A CDC success story (PDF, 1.70MB) highlights how STD specialty clinics in three jurisdictions successfully improved the delivery of HIV prevention services. The clinics are located in Baltimore, Maryland; East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana; and DeKalb County, Georgia, each of which is part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative. The success story highlights approaches that clinics in other communities could adopt.

Read more information on CDC’s ongoing work to scale up HIV prevention services in STD specialty clinics.

STI Awareness Week

In preparation for the annual observance of STI Awareness WeekApril 9-15, 2023 – CDC has posted resources to support organizations and individuals in raising awareness. The observance provides an opportunity to raise awareness about STIs and how they impact our lives; reduce STI-related stigma, fear, and discrimination; and ensure people have the tools and knowledge for STI prevention, testing, and treatment. The STI Awareness Week is also an opportunity to underscore the relationship between HIV and STIs and engage partners across the community to strengthen awareness, prevention, testing and treatment efforts.