Health officials in Alabama plan to launch new programs in 2004 aimed at keeping HIV-positive people from exposing others to the virus as part of a new federal initiative that shifts a large chunk of prevention funding to such prevention-for-positives programs. "We've had projects in the past that focused more on prevention for people testing negative for HIV," said Jane B. Cheeks, director of the Alabama Department of Public Health's HIV/AIDS division. "We're now looking at more secondary prevention that focuses on persons who are positive to make sure they have the tools to improve their own health."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding will support eight new prevention projects in the state with between $50,000 and $60,000 per project, beginning January 1, Cheeks said Friday. However, the new CDC funds will not replace state budget cuts to the health department that forced a $1 million reduction in the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program and put 100 people on a waiting list, Cheeks said. The health department's educational program for schools also was reduced. Cheeks said CDC's funding for its prevention-for-positives initiative, called "Advancing HIV Prevention: New Strategies for a Changing Epidemic," is unrelated to the state budget cuts.