Origin of the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund
In 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a meeting to brief service providers and community leaders on public health surveillance data showing extremely high rates of HIV among African Americans. Following the release of this data, the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus secured Federal funding for the creation of the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) in the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999. The MAI provided new funding designed to strengthen organizational capacity and expand HIV-related services in minority communities.
A total of $166 million in funding was allocated to MAI in that first year. Over the years, the annual Congressional appropriation for the MAI has continued to grow. In FY2016, the MAI received more than $400 million in funding. The legislation allocates MAI resources to the CDC, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the HHS Secretary’s Minority HIV/AIDS Fund (SMAIF). The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OIDP) administers the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund (formerly SMAIF) on behalf of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Office of the Secretary.
The principal goals of the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund are to reduce new HIV infections, improve HIV-related health outcomes, and reduce HIV-related health disparities for racial and ethnic minority communities. The Fund supports cross-agency demonstrations and agency-administered projects that are awarded to HHS agencies and offices for innovative HIV prevention, care and treatment, outreach and education, and technical assistance activities serving racial/ethnic minorities. The activities funded through the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund are particularly designed to encourage capacity building, innovation, collaboration, and the integration of best practices, effective strategies, and promising emerging models in the response to HIV among minority communities.
Following the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) in 2010 and its specific request for the HHS Office of the Secretary to enhance the effectiveness of the MAI, OHAIDP restructured the Fund to better align with the goals, objectives, and priorities of the NHAS. Since the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 in 2015, the Fund has continued to support the Strategy’s goals of reducing new infections, improving access to care, reducing HIV-related disparities, and achieving a more coordinated national response to HIV.
Since the inception of MAI, about $50 million has been annually appropriated to and administered by the Fund. In FY 2019, SMAIF was funded at $53.9 million, which was used to support 9 continuation projects and activities in support of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.
How Is the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund Different?
Overall, HIV-related health outcomes have improved over time, but racial and ethnic minority populations continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV infection. Significant HIV-related disparities still exist. In an effort to address these disparities and related gaps in programs and services, the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund supports innovative programs that are designed to yield lessons and results that lead to sustainable changes in the Federal response to HIV prevention, care and treatment that better serve racial and ethnic minorities.
The Fund has been at the leading edge of addressing social determinants of HIV through programs like the Care and Prevention in the United States Project (CAPUS), Partnerships for Care (P4C) and THRIVE, which promote cross-agency collaboration and respond to the NHAS goal of reducing HIV-related disparities and health inequities. Activities supported by the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund break down silos and develop new avenues for agencies to work together to quickly test innovative strategies and models that address newly emerging issues. The successes generated from Fund-supported activities create lasting changes across the Federal HIV prevention and care portfolio.
Minority HIV/AIDS Fund Populations
The Minority HIV/AIDS Fund awards funds for projects that seek to prevent HIV infection and improve health outcomes for black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Asian and Pacific Islander populations at risk for or living with HIV/AIDS. Projects prioritize those that are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, including racial and ethnic minority gay, bisexual, same-gender loving, and other men who have sex with men; transgender persons; black/African American women; and individuals in the southern U.S. and other geographic areas disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the Fund supports projects for populations of special concern, including racial and ethnic minority youth; immigrants; individuals in rural communities; and those affected by substance use, mental health concerns, and previous incarceration.