Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that 23 states and large cities with large populations of blacks affected by HIV/AIDS will receive $35 million in grants to expand HIV testing, CQ HealthBeat reports. Blacks account for about half of those in the U.S. who are living with HIV and make up 13% of the U.S. population, according to CDC.
CDC based eligibility and grant amounts on the percentage of AIDS cases among blacks in each locality. Individual grants will range from $690,000 to $5.4 million.
The main focus of the program is to implement routine, voluntary HIV testing in health care settings, such as emergency departments, community health centers, sexually transmitted infection clinics and correctional health facilities. However, about 10% of the tests will be provided in nonclinical settings. The program also aims to combine HIV testing with screening and prevention activities for other infectious diseases, including viral hepatitis, STIs and tuberculosis.
Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said the program aims to test more than one million people for HIV and increase early HIV diagnosis among blacks. According to CDC, more than 250,000 people in the U.S. are unaware that they are HIV-positive. Fenton said, "We estimate this program alone could identify nearly 20,000 people who are unaware they are infected, allowing them to seek care for their own health and take steps to protect their partners".
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation