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$60M Investment Supports Community Collaboratives to Strengthen HIV Prevention and Care for Gay Men of Color

Ronald Valdiserri

Dr. Ronald Valdiserri

A new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week invests over $60 million from the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) in a four-year demonstration project designed to improve HIV outcomes for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of color. Up to eight health departments in jurisdictions with a high burden of HIV among Black and/or Latino MSM will receive funding to establish collaboratives with community-based organizations, clinics and other health care providers, and behavioral health and social services providers to deliver comprehensive HIV prevention and care services for MSM of color.

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the population most affected by HIV infection in the United States. Among MSM, CDC estimates that those who are black and Hispanic comprised 58% of all new HIV infections in 2010. Recent years have seen alarming increases in the rates of new infection among young MSM of color; young black MSM accounted for more new HIV infections (4,800 in 2010) than any other subgroup of MSM by race/ethnicity and age.  “These shocking figures demand that we take action,” observed HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in her statement on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day last month.

Applying the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s principle of concentrating available resources in communities and regions with the greatest HIV burden, eligible applicants are state and local health departments with a high burden of HIV among African American and/or Latino MSM. Developed collaboratively by CDC and the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, the FOA details HIV prevention and care services that the collaboratives must provide to both HIV-negative and HIV-positive MSM of color. These include services such as HIV testing; linkage to care; retention in care, adherence, and re-engagement interventions; partner services; risk reduction services;  social services such as behavioral health (e.g., mental health and substance abuse treatment services), housing programs, and job training and employment services.

The FOA was informed by input from a number of key federal partners representing the range of local programs and services to be included in the collaboratives, as well as input heard during past community consultations hosted by CDC, OHAIDP and ONAP.

“This new demonstration project is an unprecedented targeting of SMAIF resources in support of MSM of color. By leveraging the respective assets of health departments, clinical care providers, and community-based organizations we hope to uncover best practices that will reduce disparities in HIV incidence and HIV care outcomes among African American MSM and other MSM of color,” observed Dr. Timothy Harrison, Senior Policy Advisor at OHAIDP.  “To support the engagement of one or more CBOs in each jurisdiction that can help engage and support MSM of color at high risk for or living with HIV, the FOA includes a requirement that the health department grantee award at least 25% of the funds to one or more CBOs.”

Applications are due June 1, 2015. More information on the FOA, “Health Department Demonstration Projects for Comprehensive Prevention, Care, Behavioral Health and Social Services for Men Who have Sex with Men of Color at Risk for and Living with HIV Infection” (CDC-RFA-PS15-1509) can be found on this page.  

Complementing this FOA, CDC also simultaneously released a companion FOA to develop and implement training and technical assistance to strengthen the workforce capacity of the health departments and their local collaborators funded under PS15-1509 in the provision of comprehensive HIV prevention, care, behavioral health, and social services specifically for MSM of color at risk for or living with HIV. A single, three-year award is contemplated. Read more about this FOA here.