The Fiscal Year 2014 (FY’14) allocation of the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) has been completed and I am pleased to share highlights with you. A total approximating $49.3 million was awarded to support 34 initiatives across 11 HHS Operating Divisions (OpDivs) and Staff Offices, including two cross-agency, multi-year demonstration projects.
The awards fund a variety of activities that aim to prevent new HIV infections and reduce drop-offs along the HIV care continuum for racial and ethnic minorities living with HIV and who bear a disproportionate burden of HIV disease. Specifically, these awards support activities including HIV testing, and linkage to and retention in HIV care, as well as efforts to strengthen capacity of communities and health systems to provide primary and secondary HIV prevention and HIV care. In all of 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.
“The FY’14 SMAIF 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 (NHAS), observed Tim Harrison, Ph.D., Senior Policy Advisor at OHAIDP, who manages the SMAIF on behalf of OHAIDP and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. “In light of the President’s July 2013 Executive Order establishing the HIV Care Continuum Initiative as the next step in implementation of the NHAS, this year’s awards focused even more closely on activities designed to improve outcomes along the continuum for specific racial/ethnic minority populations from diverse settings across the U.S.”
About half of the FY’14 SMAIF resources were allocated to two demonstration projects involving the collaboration and support of several HHS OpDivs and offices. This includes $14.5 million for the third and final year of support for the Care and Prevention of HIV in the United States (CAPUS) demonstration, which is supporting 8 state health departments (Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) in their efforts to reduce HIV and AIDS-related morbidity and mortality among racial and ethnic minorities. (Read more about CAPUS in this blog post and on this page from CDC.) In addition, this year, in consultation with our HHS partners, we invested $9.6 million to launch a new demonstration project, Partnerships for Care. The goals of the new project are to build sustainable partnerships among CDC-funded state health departments and HRSA-funded health centers to expand the capacity of community health centers, health departments, and their respective grantees to improve the identification of undiagnosed HIV infection, establish new access points for HIV care and treatment, and improve HIV outcomes along the continuum of care in communities highly affected by HIV, especially among racial/ethnic minorities. Like CAPUS, a multi-agency federal partnership is overseeing the project with the federal partners engaging in collaborative support for the selected grantees. Four states are participating in this demonstration project: Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. (Read about the 22 health centers that recently received funding to integrate high‐quality HIV services into primary care through this demonstration.)
Other Supported Activities
Among the other activities funded by the FY14 SMAIF are many addressing one or more aspects of the HIV continuum of care. For example, awards were made to support HIV testing and linkage to care activities specifically targeted to racial/ethnic minority populations including American Indians receiving services at IHS clinics, individuals receiving services in health centers along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Title X Family Planning Clinics in targeted communities with high HIV prevalence rates. Other funded activities support linkage to and retention in care for populations including persons living with HIV who are leaving correctional facilities and re-entering communities. In addition, a recently announced new HRSA Resource and Technical Assistance Center for HIV Prevention and Care for Black MSM will develop a comprehensive resource inventory of successful evidence-based strategies to engage and retain newly diagnosed HIV-positive Black MSM in clinical care.
In fact, we are pleased to note that this year’s awards support 7 initiatives that seek to address HIV prevention or care among young men who have sex with men, a population that bears heavy burden of HIV and in which we have seen troubling increases in rates of new infections in recent years. SMAIF- supported activities at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Indian Health Service (IHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Minority Health (OMH) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will each undertake efforts to better serve the population of young racial/ethnic minority MSM.
Another notable award continues support of efforts underway at HRSA to expand the capacity of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grantees and providers to provide outreach and enrollment services to PLWHA helping them gain appropriate whole-person coverage now available in expanded health insurance systems.
Finally, the FY14 SMAIF awards continued support of regional outreach, education, and engagement activities through the offices of the HHS Regional Health Administrators (RHA). SMAIF resources support an HIV/AIDS Regional Resource Coordinator in each of the 10 RHA offices across the country to engage in outreach, education, and partnerships focused on enhancing prevention efforts and improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum in each region.
OASH and OHAIDP are encouraged by the priority setting and targeting efforts of our federal partners whose proposed activities received SMAIF funding this year. The activities supported by the FY’14 SMAIF reflect a commitment to thoughtfully focus and carefully target HIV prevention and care services for racial/ethnic minorities in communities disproportionately burdened by HIV using innovative and effective interventions. We expect these activities will enhance HIV outcomes for those they serve as well as serve as models for others.