The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday announced 115 grants totaling $156.5 million for HIV prevention planning programs, substance abuse and treatment services for people living with HIV, and prevention programs that aim to prevent HIV-positive people from exposing others to the virus. Officials of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which will administer the grants, said the funds are intended primarily to help minority communities disproportionately affected by both substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. Many of the 115 grants are earmarked specifically for programs targeting African-American and Latino communities, which both have high HIV prevalence rates.
"The current trend in HIV/AIDS shows that a disproportionate number of minorities who live in inner cities are affected by or at risk for contracting HIV. Often this population is poor, hard to reach through traditional public health methods, and in need of a wide range of health and human services," said HHS secretary Tommy Thompson in announcing the grants. "These grants will help a wide range of providers become familiar with the various issues surrounding substance abuse and HIV/AIDS and should foster a comprehensive, community-based response to the challenge."