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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Meeting the Need

By Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., F.F.P.H.

August 13, 2010

Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., F.F.P.H.

Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., F.F.P.H.

This article was cross-posted from the AIDS.gov blog. Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., FFPHis the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC. (Cross-posted from Health Protection, Perspectives Blog.)

Last week, CDC awarded $42 million to community-based organizations (CBOs) in cities and communities across the nation to support HIV prevention efforts. This funding puts resources directly in the hands of those with cultural knowledge and local perspective -- those who have the best chance to reach people who might otherwise not access HIV testing or other prevention services.

These partnerships are a vital part of CDC's fight against HIV. Community-based organizations are part of the daily fabric of our lives and a critical link to providing HIV prevention services where we live, work, and play.

Funding of CBOs is also consistent with the new National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released on July 13, 2010, by the White House. This strategy outlines three critical steps that we must take to reduce HIV infections, including intensifying HIV prevention efforts in communities where HIV is most heavily concentrated; expanding targeted efforts to prevent HIV infection using a combination of effective, evidence-based approaches; and educating all Americans about the threat of HIV and how to prevent it.

The 133 CBOs directly funded by CDC will help address those critical steps. First, they are tasked with implementing effective HIV prevention programs for individuals living with HIV and those at high risk of infection. Next, the CBOs will also use the funding to increase HIV testing and knowledge of status in the communities that they serve -- some of the areas hardest hit by the HIV epidemic. Lastly, a limited portion of the funding will be given to some CBOs to assist in monitoring program impact and behavioral outcomes.

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CDC also funds hundreds of CBOs indirectly through funding provided to state and local health departments. CDC provides capacity building assistance to all directly and indirectly funded CBOs to ensure the delivery of effective services to communities in need. These efforts are a part of CDC's tiered approach to HIV prevention that prioritizes intensive, evidence-based interventions.

As part of the tiered approach, CDC is focused on community-level interventions in those areas hardest hit by the HIV epidemic. CDC and it funded partners are working to ensure widespread condom availability, syringe access, targeted HIV testing programs, social marketing for behavior change, and social marketing to foster supportive community norms, like safer sex. For HIV positive and very high risk individuals, HIV testing is the first critical step to the prevention of new infections and is a key component of the National Strategy's goal of reducing HIV infections.

We are also working to ensure all Americans have access to basic, fundamental knowledge about HIV through CBOs, health departments, partnerships, and national campaigns. We also recommend that all people in the United States aged 14-64 be tested at least once as part of their routine medical care.

In the introduction to the National Strategy, President Barack Obama underscored the need for a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic, noting that success will require the commitment of governments at all levels, businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others. Please join us; together we can stop the spread of HIV.

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