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Eight States, Puerto Rico Will Not Receive CDC Funding for Advanced HIV Monitoring System

August 25, 2008

CDC on Friday announced that it will no longer fund an advanced HIV/AIDS monitoring system in eight states and Puerto Rico, the New York Times reports. The eight states are Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. According to the Times, the system uses a new test that distinguishes recent HIV infections from old ones, which helps "epidemiologists track [infections] in something much closer to real time than was previously possible."

Data from the advanced system were used in a recent report on new HIV infections in the U.S. based on 22 of the 34 states using the test, Terry Butler -- spokesperson at the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention -- said. Butler added that future monitoring will include data from all 25 jurisdictions. The change in CDC funding will reduce the number of states using the advanced system from 34 to 25. Total funding for the advanced testing method will remain the same but the 25 states will receive a larger portion of funding, Butler said.

Butler added that the 25 states that will continue using the advanced test have the most reliable systems and could help CDC produce the most accurate estimate of HIV infections in the U.S. Julie Scofield, executive director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, said that more extrapolations would be necessary to estimate HIV infections nationwide if fewer states use the advanced test.

Scofield added that federal funding for HIV surveillance has decreased and that many states are struggling to meet CDC standards for HIV monitoring. She estimated that the eight states and Puerto Rico lost about $3 million in CDC funding with the announcement. "Surveillance funding is starving at the CDC," Scofield said, adding, "Their ability to say that they're going to have ongoing reliable reports of [HIV] incidence is somewhat questionable unless you have funding for that." NASTAD has called for a $35 million increase in funding for HIV surveillance efforts, the Times reports (Dewan, New York Times, 8/22).

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