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The Indian Health Service is announcing five million dollars in funding for “Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. ” to support work toward the elimination of HIV and hepatitis C in Indian Country.
“At HHS, we continue to confront the HIV epidemic head-on by ensuring resources are focused on the communities and people who most need them,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding will help us reach people in Indian Country and engage people who are disproportionately impacted by HIV.”
“We are excited about this new funding opportunity for Indian Country to address diagnosis, treatment and prevention activities that are aimed at eliminating disparities and reducing HIV’s impact,” said Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler. “We are committed to providing American Indians and Alaska Natives who are at risk, or are living with HIV, with the culturally-appropriate support and services they need.”
The funds include $2.48 million for three-year cooperative agreements for tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to support activities that address HIV/HCV and sexually-transmitted infections. The deadline for tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to apply for the funding is June 17, 2022.
Since the late 1980s, enormous progress has been made in the fight against HIV, but there is still work to be done. National interventions have reduced the number of new HIV infections, but not everyone is benefiting equally from these advances. New diagnoses are highly concentrated among men having sex with men; minorities, including American Indians and Alaska Natives; and those who live in the southern United States. Among people living with HIV, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the largest percentage of persons with undiagnosed HIV infection.
Stigma in Native communities can also be a debilitating barrier preventing someone living with HIV or at risk for HIV from receiving the health care services they need and deserve. IHS continues to address barriers for people living on Indian reservations and in other rural communities that limit opportunities for education and HIV testing.
In addition to the cooperative agreements, approximately $1.5 million will support clinical training, including funding for ongoing case-based training and technical assistance. Approximately $620,000 will support national infrastructure, and approximately $400,000 will support a national media campaign.
This funding comes in addition to the several Indian Health Service activities that are also supported by the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, which has provided national-level programs like web-based youth education and prevention services, clinical training for HIV care, expansion of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention, case management support for people living with HIV, support of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and indigenizing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. In June 2021, the IHS distributed close to $10.5 million through this competitive funding opportunity.
The Biden Administration is also continuing its support of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative within Indian Country. The president’s budget requests $52 Million in FY 2023 for IHS to treat or reduce the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C.
The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally-recognized tribes in 37 states.