Cuts to HIV prevention funds won’t impact Nashville health programs

Cuts to HIV prevention funds won’t impact Nashville health programs

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  • January 20, 2023
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  • 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.

HIV/AIDS pandemic     • Disease:  HIV/AIDS     • Location:  Worldwide     • Duration:  1981-present     • Approx. number of deaths:  35 million First reported in California in 1981, AIDS is now one of the largest pandemics in the world. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, jumped from chimpanzees to humans in early 20th century Africa, and spreads through contact with bodily fluids. Although AIDS has killed at least 35 million people globally, current antiretroviral therapies can prevent its proliferation.

“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.

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