Cuts to HIV prevention funds won’t impact Nashville health programs
- Nashville-area HIV/AIDS prevention efforts aren’t expected to be impacted by the state’s decision to refuse certain CDC prevention grants
- State officials have refused to comment publicly on their decision to refuse the CDC grants other than to say it’s in the state’s ‘best interest’ to take over financial responsibility for prevention
- The current CDC HIV/AIDS prevention grants end May 31. The state has promised to fill in the gaps.
A state Department of Health decision to refuse certain federal grants for HIV prevention likely won’t affect city-affiliated programs in Nashville or Davidson County, a spokesman for Nashville’s separate public health agency said Thursday.
The Metro Nashville Public Health Department receives such federal funding through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which is not expected to be impacted by the state’s decision, said Metro Health Department spokesman Matthew Peters.
“The more I look at it, it looks like the effect is going to be more pronounced outside of metro areas. It looks like metro health departments are going to be largely untouched in this,” Peters said. “It looks like the brunt of this is probably going to take effect in places that are not metro health departments.”
In a story first reported by the Commercial Appeal, the state notified agencies working in HIV prevention that the state would stop accepting certain federal grants for that purpose after they end on May 31.
“The State has determined it is in the best interest of Tennesseans for the State to assume direct financial and managerial responsibility for these services,” the letter, dated Jan. 17, states. “The State will be providing support equivalent to federal funding.”
Gov. Bill Lee’s office referred all questions about this matter to the state Department of Health. The department’s newly appointed commissioner, Ralph Alvarado, declined to comment through a spokesman.
Health Department spokesman Bill Christian also declined to answer questions about the decision, instead responding by email that: “The letter speaks for itself in communicating: ‘…it is in the best interest of Tennesseans for the State to assume direct financial and managerial response for these services.‘”
All also refused to confirm the amount of tax dollars at stake.
The Commercial Appeal reported that the grants are provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the state, the CDC funds: “HIV counseling, testing and referral, HIV partner counseling and referral services, HIV health education and risk reduction programs, HIV prevention for positive individuals, public information programs, a toll-free HIV/STD hotline, capacity building programs, and a quality assurance and evaluation component.”
Frank Gluck is the health care reporter for The Tennessean. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FrankGluck.
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