The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave out a further $115 million in funding on Thursday as part of the Biden administration’s plan to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by at least 90 percent by 2030.
Nearly $103 million was given to 39 metropolitan areas and eight states including Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Ohio, for core medical and support services to reduce new HIV infections.
Around $4 million will go to provide workforce capacity development and technical assistance to HIV education and training centers. A further $8 million was given to two non-profit organizations to support grantees with technical assistance and health care and social systems coordination.
“We are leading this fight by focusing our HIV investments in the places that need it most and partnering with communities to address critical needs like housing and mental health,” said Carole Johnson, administrator of Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in a media release.
The initiative is part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative, originally launched by former President Donald Trump in February 2019.
As part of the Biden administration’s national strategy for HIV from 2022 to 2025, bold targets were set to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030, including a 75 percent reduction in new infections by 2025 and a 90 percent reduction by 2030.
Though no new data have been published on the reduction of HIV cases since 2019, during the Trump presidency HIV cases dropped by 8 percent from 2016 to 2019 after a period of stability, with the number of new cases reducing from 37,900 in 2016 to 34,800 in 2019.
The four key strategies of the EHE initiative are early diagnosis, rapid treatment, preventing new transmissions through pre-exposure prophylaxis and syringe services programs, and responding quickly to potential HIV outbreaks.
HIV is a significant public health issue in the United States. Since 1981 more than 700,000 American lives have been lost to HIV, according to the government, with annual spending on HIV and care reaching $20 billion a year.
It is currently projected that 38,000 new HIV cases are being diagnosed every year and more than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with the virus.
The increased funding follows $48 million given to 271 health centers funded by HRSA in September 2021, and $99 million given to the Ryan White HIV/aids Program in March 2021.