In a post last month, Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, provided an overview of the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) and highlighted the changes that were made this year to bring it into better alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and recommendations from a recent program evaluation. As promised, today we are providing information on the activities supported by the FY2011 Secretary’s MAI Fund. Deliberate, strategic changes to the allocation of the SMAIF are evidenced in the awards. These changes were informed by input from the NHAS, the HIV/AIDS community, Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, and our Federal colleagues.
The Fund made 35 awards to 10 agencies and offices within HHS for a variety of activities that complement other existing efforts to address HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minority communities. The awards support a range of activities from HIV prevention and testing to linkage to and retention in care. They also include capacity building, outreach and education, training and technical assistance and planning and evaluation activities. The funded activities serve diverse populations from Native American women, African immigrants, and Latino and African American MSM, among others. While some of the projects support activities in multiple locations across the U.S., others address very specific geographic regions such as the U.S.-Mexico border region, Puerto Rico and the Pacific Territories.
These awards reflect the changes discussed in Dr. Valdiserri’s earlier post. They also reflect changes between the FY10 and FY11 SMAIF allocations by both the types of activities funded and the distribution of funds across agencies/offices. You will note that more funds were allocated this year to activities related to HIV testing and linkage to and retention in care. In addition, CDC and SAMHSA received a greater percentage of the funds this year compared to last year. When examining these charts, though, keep in mind that most, if not all, the funded projects encompass more than one activity type. For example, an HIV testing activity may also include education and outreach, or a training and technical assistance activity may also build capacity. But, for the purpose of the pie chart a single activity was designated as the primary one.
Of the awards made, 28 were the result of a competitive process administered by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. In addition, as described in the earlier post, $15.5 million of the FY’11 SMAIF funds were “carved out” this year to specifically support expanded and better coordinated HIV prevention, treatment and care activities serving racial and ethnic minority populations in the 12 cities most heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS. These targeted funds are being used for a variety of activities serving racial/ethnic minorities, including: scaling up HIV testing among African American and Hispanic MSM, improving the retention and re-engagement in care of racial/ethnic minorities who are infected with HIV/AIDS, and facilitating the integration of behavioral health care and primary health care for racial/ethnic minorities who are most at risk for or who are living with HIV/AIDS and who are most at risk for or have a mental and/or substance use disorder.
“The activities funded this year under the SMAIF will advance our collective efforts toward the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, especially the critical goal of reducing HIV-related disparities and health inequities,” noted Dr. Valdiserri.
In the coming weeks and months, the agencies and offices that received these SMAIF funds will be awarding grants or contracts to support implementation of these important activities and those activities will begin to unfold in communities across the country. In addition, our office will continue to explore options and approaches for using the Secretary’s MAI Fund in FY2012 in ways that make the promise of the NHAS a reality for racial/ethnic minority communities who are at risk for or living with HIV/AIDS.
As we contemplate those plans, what are your thoughts on changes that should be made to the planned allocations of the FY2012 SMAIF? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.