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SAMHSA Awards Approximately $1.3 Million To Help Communities Offer Expanded HIV Testing, Counseling And Referral For Care PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 19 October 2011 01:19
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that it is awarding approximately $1.3 million in one-year federal grants, funded through the Department of Health and Human Services Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) Secretariat Emergency Fund, to expand the capacity of current SAMHSA MAI grantees to provide rapid HIV testing, counseling and referral to care.

These grants will promote the principal goals of the MAI, which are to improve HIV-related health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and reduce HIV-related health disparities. In addition, the grants are aligned with the objectives of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) to: 1) reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV; 2) increase access to care and optimize health outcomes; and 3) reduce HIV-related health disparities. Intensifying HIV prevention efforts with the utilization of rapid HIV testing of individuals with substance use and/or mental disorders is also consistent with the NHAS, given the disproportionately high prevalence of HIV among ethnic and racial minorities.

"These grants will help communities address the problem of HIV infection which still puts many Americans at risk including people experiencing mental illnesses or substance abuse," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "If people get tested and counseled they can stay healthy. If they test positive for HIV, they can be linked to HIV care earlier to greatly improve their overall well being and quality of life, and also reduce the risk of others being infected with the virus."

"Combating HIV/AIDS in communities of color and among substance users are critical priorities of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS)," noted Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases. "Increasing the number and improving the capacity of minority-serving substance abuse prevention and treatment programs that provide HIV and other infectious disease screening, counseling and referral to care will help us address the Strategy's call to prevent HIV among substance users and actively connect those diagnosed with HIV into care and treatment."

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