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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 30, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 39
CDC grants support HIV prevention for young men of color
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CDC grants support HIV prevention for young men of color

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced $55 million in grants for community-based HIV prevention services targeting young Gay and Bi men and Transgender young people of color.

The announcement came on September 27, National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

The new CDC grants expand on a previous program to reach these populations, with an increase of $10 million to fund a larger number of community organizations.

'On this National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we are reminded of the urgency of the HIV epidemic in the United States and the dramatic impact among Gay and Bisexual men, who account for more than 60 percent of new infections,' said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.

'We must also recognize that the epidemic cannot be overcome without effectively addressing the severe and rising toll of HIV infections among Gay and Bisexual men of color, who continue to be hardest hit by this disease.'

Dr. Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, explained that men of color who have sex with men (MSM) are particularly at risk for HIV infection.

'While Gay men of all races and ages are severely affected by HIV, the latest CDC data show that young Gay men of color are among the most vulnerable, with new infections among young black gay and bisexual men increasing by nearly 50 percent in recent years,' he said.

According to CDC estimates released in August, the annual number of new HIV infections among young black MSM increased 48% between 2006 and 2009.

Among Latinos, MSM are by far the most severely impacted, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all new infections. Nearly half of these infections among Latino MSM occurred in the youngest age group, aged 13-29.

Transgender people are also severely impacted by HIV. It is estimated that 28% of Transgender people are HIV-positive.

The new CDC awards are designed to enable community-based organizations with strong links to these populations to meet their specific HIV prevention needs.

As a condition of these awards, each organization will be required to provide specific prevention services.

These include providing HIV testing to a total of more than 90,000 young Gay and Bi men and Transgender young people of color, with a goal of identifying more than 3,500 previously unrecognized HIV infections over the five-year funding period, and linking those who are HIV-positive to care and prevention services.

Community-based organizations will also implement HIV prevention programs designed to change high-risk behaviors, and distribute condoms to young Gay and Bi men and Transgender youth of color who are at high risk for HIV or are HIV-positive.

The 34 funded organizations represent 19 states and Puerto Rico.

Thirty organizations will receive funding for efforts reaching young Gay and Bi men of color, and six will receive funding for efforts reaching Trans youth of color. Two organizations are funded to reach both populations.

Geographic distribution of the grants corresponds to the distribution of HIV/AIDS cases among MSM of color in the United States. For example, 44% of the funds will go to organizations in the South, where 42% of AIDS diagnoses among MSM of color occurred in 2008.

Washington state will not receive new funding from this round of CDC grants.

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