Health and Human Services Awards $2.27 Billion to Help Americans with HIV/AIDS Care

Health and Human Services Awards $2.27 Billion to Help Americans with HIV/AIDS Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awards billions in grants to help Americans with access to HIV/AIDS care, support services, and medication.

Last week, HHS announced its funding of several forms of HIV/AIDS treatment support. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants were awarded to cities, counties, states, and local community-based organizations in the fiscal year (FY) 2019. And unlike some initiatives against the HIV/AIDS crisis, this one focuses on home soil: communities within the U.S.

The funding—over $2 billion—is through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and it supports a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medication, and essential support services to over a half a million people with HIV in the U.S., according to one HHS article.

“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has played a major role in the improved outcomes we see for Americans with HIV,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Thanks to expanded access to treatment and medical advances, HIV/AIDS has gone from being a likely death sentence to a condition that allows a nearly normal lifespan if properly treated. Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients, despite often very challenging circumstances, have a viral suppression rate that far exceeds the national average. The successes of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program are in part thanks to how the program cares for the needs of the whole person, including non-health factors.”

HIV and AIDS have been a public health concern for many years, and the treatment and health approaches to the epidemic have taken years to develop to where it is. However, the HHS grant’s momentum is due, in part, to the U.S. government’s initiative to end the HIV epidemic in country by 2030. President Trump announced the administration’s goal to address the public health issue in the State of the Union Address on February 5, 2019. Read the HIV.gov’s breakdown of the federal health plan and data here.

HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program will be critically important in a number of ways. Not only will it reduce HIV transmission by improving access to HIV treatment and antiretroviral medication, but it will also give those living with HIV access to a better state of health. This is significant, as many who have HIV and daily medication as prescribed (and who maintain an undetectable viral load) have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to a partner without HIV.

The following is a breakdown of how the funds were allocated, and for which initiatives:

A sum of $628.3 million was awarded to 52 metropolitan areas to provide core medical and support services to people with HIV. These grants were awarded to 24 eligible areas and 28 transitional grant areas with the highest concentration of people with HIV and AIDS and that see emergency care needs.

A sum of $1.3 billion was awarded to 59 states and territories to improve the quality, availability, and organization of the HIV health care and support services and for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). In addition, 16 states received Emerging Community grants based on the number of AIDS cases over the most recent five-year period, and an additional $11.2 million was awarded for an initiative for minority individuals living with AIDS.

Approximately $181.8 million was awarded as a part of the Early Intervention Services (EIS) to 349 local, community-based organizations. This sum aims to provide core medical and support services to people with HIV. Also, 76 organizations were awarded approximately $10.2 million in other Capacity Development grants.

Another part of the program allocated $69.7 million to 115 local community-based organizations to provide family-centered comprehensive HIV care and treatment for women, infants, children, and youth with HIV.

A sum of $66.7 million was awarded to support clinical training, oral health services, quality improvement, and the development of innovative models of care through several different programs.

A total of $29.2 million through 14 grants was awarded to the AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) Program to support education and training of health care professionals, which includes a network of eight regional and two national centers.

Lastly, $25 million was awarded by the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) section, which supports the development of innovative models of care, evidence-based interventions for populations with HIV who are significantly difficult to engage, retain in care, and reach and sustain viral suppression with antiretroviral therapy.

A list of all the recipients for the various Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program for the FY 2019 can be found on the HHS article.

Grant awards in FY 2019 also support states, cities, counties, and communities to achieve the goals of National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States: Updated to 2020. These include efforts to reduce new HIV cases, increase access to HIV care and improve health outcomes for people with HIV, and reduce HIV-related health iniquities.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a serious concern for many health officials around the country and world. The program is one step to addressing the crisis on behalf of not just the wellbeing of the country, but for the human quality of life as well.

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