Baltimore City Health Department Announces Over $20 million in CDC Funding to Help Reduce HIV Infections Among At-Risk Populations
Friday Sep 25th, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (September 25, 2015)–The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) announced today that Baltimore City was awarded over $20 million in grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to support efforts to reduce HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender populations, with an emphasis on MSM of color. The two grants awarded to BCHD are part of $185 million in funding distributed by the CDC to respond to the severe burden of HIV among MSM and transgender men and women.
While new HIV infections are declining across the city–and nationwide–new infections are increasing among MSM and transgender persons in Baltimore. African American populations are particularity at-risk–84 percent of those living with HIV in Baltimore are African American.
"This is not just a health issue, but one of social justice,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Thanks to this generous funding, we will be able to help African-American MSM and transgender individuals who are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, both here in Baltimore and across the country.”
Through the first grant, BCHD, in collaboration with community partners, proposes to implement and evaluate a PrEP program in order to reduce the acquisition of HIV. PrEP is a preventive approach to HIV infection that addresses risk behaviors and involves daily administration of the antiretroviral, Truvada, to prevent HIV infection if exposed.
"We are taking an organized approach to HIV so that more people know their statuses, get into care, and stay in care," said BCHD Assistant Commissioner Patrick Chaulk. “We will be begin by working with those with the highest risk before broadening this effort to help all Baltimoreans."
With funding provided by the second grant, BCHD, plans to improve engagement in HIV medical care by developing a collaborative between BCHD, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), and local health departments to provide a comprehensive model that brings together experienced HIV clinicians, counselors and other behavioral health and social service providers into a “Care Collective.” This Collective will develop best practices and comprehensive approaches to prevent HIV infection among high risk MSM of color and ensure that persons living with HIV/AIDS ensure that persons living with HIV/AIDS access and remain in care. In total, these grants will support the hiring of up to 70 new BCHD and sub-grantee staff.
“We are so proud of what these grants will mean for Baltimore,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “This very significant award will help reduce infections and improve engagement in HIV medical care for these underserved populations, while creating new jobs for local residents.”
For more information about Baltimore City’s HIV prevention efforts, please visit: http://health.baltimorecity.gov/hivstd-services/hivstd-prevention-program