MOBILE, Ala. --The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has awarded additional funds to expand access to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) care, treatment, medication, and prevention services.

According to MCHD, this investment is considered a critical component of the Administration's Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative, which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 90 percent by 2030.

The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) was among five agencies in Alabama to share in the original funding in 2020. After having completed Fiscal Year One funding activities, MCHD received additional funding this month.

In December 2020, Congress passed -- and the President -- signed the Fiscal Year 2021 federal budget, which included $386 million for implementation of the EHE initiative:

• $175 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce new HIV infections.

• $207 million for HRSA, allocated as $105 million to deliver HIV care through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) and $102 million to provide HIV testing, linkage to care, and prescription of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and associated medical costs through the Health Centers program.

• $5 million to the Indian Health Service (IHS) for an initiative to treat or reduce the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C.

• $16 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for evaluation activities to identify effective interventions to treat and prevent HIV.

The EHE initiative and this month’s awards focus on 48 counties, Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, geographic areas where more than 50 percent of new HIV diagnoses occurred in 2016 and 2017, as well as the seven states with a substantial rural HIV burden.

NIH just released a report that cites unequal progress to ending the HIV epidemic among southern states and among marginalized groups. The report is available at https://www.nih.gov/newsevents/news-releases/end-hiv-epidemic-we-must-address-health-disparities.

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