At the National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced more than $20 million in funding to expand HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services at health centers nationwide.
The funding – awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to 64 health centers – is part of HHS’ Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative, which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90 percent by 2030.
“Community health centers are critical to preventing and treating HIV, especially when it comes to reaching underserved communities,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Today’s awards will ensure high quality HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services are more readily available for Americans who need it the most.”
Health centers who receive this funding will leverage it to expand access to medication to prevent HIV (including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP and related services), connect people to care, and ensure care services are well coordinated. They will also leverage it to strengthen partnerships with community organizations such as HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program-funded organizations and health departments. Stronger partnerships speed up patients’ connections to prevention services, including testing and PrEP.
“We have the tools to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S., including testing and medication to prevent and treat HIV. Yet, tools alone won’t end the epidemic – we need to support trusted community leaders in their work to engage people in care,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Today’s awards make these critical investments by building on HRSA’s longstanding support for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to expand our HIV prevention and treatment work in community health centers.”
Partnerships and action are even more important as the U.S. faces a monkeypox (MPx) outbreak. As part of the monkeypox outbreak response, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a national strategy to provide vaccines of MPx for individuals at higher risk of exposure. HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has begun allocating an initial allotment of vaccines for people with HIV, people who are low income, and those who are uninsured.
“We have many of the tools necessary to substantially curb the HIV epidemic in the United States,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH. “This funding award is an important contribution to ensuring that vital HIV testing, prevention tools, treatment and access to care reach the local communities where they can have the most impact.”
The funding builds on over $100 million in previously awarded EHE funding to more than 300 health centers, and will fund additional health centers in the counties, territories, and states identified as a part of the EHE initiative. The EHE initiative supports President Biden’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy 2022-2025, which extends across many federal departments and encompasses the entire nation. The EHE initiative is a leading component of HHS’ work – in collaboration with state, tribal, territorial, and local partners – to implement the Strategy.