Sunday, January 8, 2012

$339 million for US HIV prevention

By Meluse Kapatamoyo

To curb the growing number of HIV infections in the country, the United States is to spend $339 million on HIV prevention in the year 2012.

A statement by the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had begun awarding the money to state and local health departments across the US to fund HIV prevention activities this year.

The awards are part of a five-year funding cycle and represent a critical component of CDC’s new high-impact approach to HIV prevention that better aligns resources to reflect the geographic burden of the disease.

All 50 states, eight cities, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and the six Island jurisdictions, were among the reciepients.

“With 50, 000 new HIV infections every year and tough economic environment, the need to do more with existing resources is greater than ever, “ said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

He said, the approach to prevention funding was designed to focus on the places where needs were most urgent and on the programs that will have the most far-reaching impact.

"It will help us achieve the ambitious goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy with the efficiency and urgency the HIV epidemic demands.”

The funds are being allocated to individual health departments according to a formula that better matches resources to the geographic burden of HIV, as measured by the number of people reported living with HIV in each jurisdiction.

CDC is also providing the health departments with new, specific guidance for priotizing the  most effective prevention programs that will ensure that funding in many areas with heavier HIV burdens increases.

The organisation will award an additional $20 million to health departments by March 2012 as part of this funding cycle to implement innovation HIV prevention demonstration projects.

Jonathan Mermin M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention said, “This latest round of funding will help them lead the nation to slow, and ultimately end, the HIV epidemic in the United States-a public imperative that could finally be achieved."

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