HIV Left Out? HHS Announces Massive Public Health and Prevention Funding -- But No Mention of HIV
By Jim Merrell
February 10, 2011
This article was provided by the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance.
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the section of the federal government that oversees the majority of health related federal programs, announced $750 million in Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) investments for 2011. The announcement is big news in the fight for health equity and community-based health promotion and prevention. HHS is explicitly targeting health disparities, coordinated chronic disease prevention, enhanced public health infrastructure and improved research and tracking -- all big wins for in the fight against the structural drivers of the HIV epidemic.
But something was missing...
Gone from the 2011 PPHF announcement is the $30 million investment in expanded HIV testing initiatives we saw in 2010.
Certainly this investment, a small percentage of the overall funding, closely aligns with the goals of the initiative -- so why the cold shoulder?
It's a question we'll be asking at every opportunity and we hope you'll do the same.
However, it's important to keep in mind that the PPHF, and the Affordable Care Act as a whole, represent two of the boldest moves against health injustice in generations. In 2011, the federal government will inject almost $300 million in community prevention programming, half of which will go to local and state health departments in the form of community transformation grants' -- focusing on, among other things, health disparities and coordinated chronic disease prevention.
As local authorities prepare to apply for these funds, we must ensure that HIV prevention is at the table and explicitly included in grants going to our communities. This is especially critical given the likelihood that HIV prevention funding at the state and federal levels will be subject to deep cuts or flat funded at best.
With renewed energy and investment around public health and community level health promotion and prevention, now is the time to make sure that HIV prevention is an integral part of the broader vision for a renewal of the commitment to health and wellness in our communities.
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