Georgia: Funding Delayed for Gay Men's Health Clinic
April 18, 2006
AID Atlanta's planned effort to address rising syphilis rates in metro Atlanta has stalled after state officials decided to rebid the project. In December, the state awarded AID Atlanta a $150,000 CDC grant to address syphilis education and prevention, but later determined that the agency did not meet all the necessary requirements for the contract, said the Department of Human Resources (DHR).
"[AID Atlanta] was awarded the request for proposal, but then some issues arose that we didn't realize," said DHR spokesperson Dena Smith. One problem was that the agency does not have any state licensing to perform on-site syphilis tests, she noted.
"Another thing was AID Atlanta should have had an agreement with Fulton County's health department to do follow up and case management if it found someone did test positive for syphilis, and they didn't have this," said Linda Smart-Smith, director of the STD section of the Division of Public Health (DPH).
Though AID Atlanta and DHR officials discussed the needed requirements, DPH decided to just start over. "We hoped to get those two pieces in place, but that did not happen. And we can't break the rules if these requirements are not in place," said Smith. "So we backed up and decided to reissue the request for proposals."
AID Atlanta Interim Executive Director Steve Balfour said the state was simply making sure all its "ducks were in a row." The agency will apply for the grant again, he said. If awarded, AID Atlanta plans to use part of the money to open a gay men's health and STD clinic. The agency is also seeking private and corporate donors for the clinic initiative, which Balfour estimates will cost around $400,000. "We have a built-in audience, we already test 400 people a month for HIV, and if we can include syphilis and other STD testing, that would go a long way in prevention efforts," he said. Smith did not address AID Atlanta's plan to use the potential grant for a gay men's clinic, noting that the money was earmarked only for syphilis prevention and awareness.
Southern Voice (Atlanta)
04.14.06; Dyana Bagby
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.