Consistent with the President’s request to sharpen our focus on improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum as we pursue the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) awards made by the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) funded a number of initiatives designed to do just that.
A total of $33,293,826 was allocated among competitive awards to 11 agencies and offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Finalized in September by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) the 28 FY13 competitive awards range in size from $30,000 to $6.1 million. The competitive awards support a variety of activities that aim to reduce drop-offs along the HIV treatment cascade and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities that bear a disproportionate burden of HIV.
Among the activities that these awards support are HIV prevention and testing as well as initiatives designed to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care and promote HIV treatment adherence. The FY’13 awards also fund: healthcare provider capacity development; use of new media to reach specific minority populations; and adaption, replication and/or dissemination of model HIV programs. The funded activities serve diverse populations including young African American and Latino MSM; minority women receiving services at family planning clinics; Native American-serving healthcare providers; substance users; and persons living with HIV who are leaving correctional facilities and re-entering communities
Of note, $1.7 million was awarded to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support capacity building activities for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grantees and providers to offer outreach and enrollment support to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period. In addition, to improve HIV prevention and treatment outcomes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received $1.9 million to support a public-private partnership with Walgreens to develop and evaluate a model of HIV care that integrates community pharmacists with clinical sites for patient-centered care for persons living with HIV. Finally, a total of $384,000 was awarded to a collaborative project involving HRSA, NIH, and CDC that is designed to improve retention in care for HIV-positive youth. This was one of several initiatives funded in this cycle that respond to data released by CDC in late 2012 showing that one in four new HIV infections in the United States occurs among young people ages 13-24, with most of those new infections (about 70%) occurring in gay and bisexual males, most of whom were African Americans.
Approximately 62% of the total FY13 SMAIF was allocated to the competitive awards. In addition to those awards, $14.5 million of the FY13 SMAIF was allocated to provide second year funding for an innovative three-year, cross-agency demonstration project initiated in FY12. Known as the Care and Prevention of HIV in the United States – or CAPUS for short – the project is supporting 8 state health departments (Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) in reducing 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. CDC has the lead in this project which incorporates the active involvement of HRSA, SAMHSA, and other HHS Offices.
As with last year’s SMAIF awards, the FY’13 competitive awards continue efforts initiated in FY’11 to more closely align activities supported by the Fund with the goals and priorities of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy while also remaining faithful to the purpose and spirit of the Minority AIDS Initiative, from which the fund is derived. For this year’s awards, we solicited competitive proposals from HHS agencies and offices in four program areas: Preventing HIV, Improving HIV Health Outcomes, Mobilization Efforts to Reduce HIV Health Disparities, and Capacity Development in Support of NHAS Goals.
“The FY’13 SMAIF competitive awards support activities serving racial and ethnic minorities along each of the stages of the HIV care continuum, from HIV status awareness and linkage to care through initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and retention in care with ART adherence,” observed Tim Harrison, Ph.D., Senior Policy Advisor at OHAIDP. “In these efforts, we have encouraged awardees to prioritize the geographic locations with substantial HIV burdens as well as the populations where HIV is most heavily concentrated.”
OASH and OHAIDP are committed to working with all of our federal partners as well as stakeholders from across the HIV community to identify ways to further enhance the effectiveness of HIV prevention and care services provided to high-risk minority communities. We believe that the activities supported with the FY’13 SMAIF awards demonstrate important progress in that pursuit.