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Prevention and Public Health Fund: Grant Applications Leave Little Room for HIV

By Kelly Nowicki

July 25, 2011

Prevention and Public Health Fund: Grant Applications Leave Little Room for HIV

This article was provided by the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance.

Applications to receive funding through the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health (PPH) Fund were due Friday, July 22, 2011. This funding opportunity, announced in a news release last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will allow national networks of community-based organizations to apply for more than $4 million to help support, disseminate and amplify the evidence-based strategies of the Community Transformation Grants (CTG) program.

CTGs are intended to empower communities to implement projects proven to reduce chronic diseases. The five priority areas for CTGs, as outlined by the HHS are (see full news release here):

  1. Tobacco-free living;
  2. Active living and healthy eating;
  3. Evidence-based quality clinical and other preventive services, specifically prevention and control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol;
  4. Social and emotional wellness, such as facilitating early identification of mental health needs and access to quality services, especially for people with chronic conditions; and
  5. Health and safe physical environments

Wait, where is HIV included in this list of priority areas? Oh here is it, buried within the subset of secondary disease prevention and health promotion priorities:

"Communities may also address additional areas of disease prevention and health promotion that will contribute to the overall goal of reducing chronic disease rates. These areas include adolescent health; arthritis and osteoporosis; cancer; diabetes; disabilities and secondary conditions; educational and community-based services; environmental health; HIV; injury and violence prevention; maternal, infant and child health; mental health and mental disorders; health of older adults; oral health; and sexually transmitted diseases."

With estimates from the CDC that more than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S. and that approximately 56,300 Americans are becoming infected with HIV each year, how is HIV not higher on the priority list? The purpose of the CTG program is to support, disseminate and amplify projects proven to reduce chronic diseases. HIV is a chronic disease that has far-reaching effects on the health and wellbeing of the individual and the community; implications that need to be addressed and funded through proven, evidence-based strategies.

Finally, while it is claimed that PPH funding is open to ALL applicants, it is required that they include an endorsement from their governing health body which means in reality, it may likely be accessible to only, or primarily, health departments.

We are calling for transparency in the grant process to see who is receiving funding and how much of it, if any, is going to HIV organizations during this round.

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