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US Shifts Strategy to Curb HIV's Spread
  Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 24, 2004
David Wahlberg
In its first round of annual funding since last year's launch of aninitiative aimed at keeping people with HIV from infecting others, CDC onFriday announced $49 million in HIV prevention grants to 142 communityorganizations. About 82 percent of grant-receiving organizations targetminorities; 41 percent of the money goes to programs for gay men.
Part of the effort seeks to make testing more available, chiefly usinga new rapid HIV test, so that the estimated 200,000 people who have HIV butdon't know it can learn their status and reduce their risk of transmittingthe virus to others. With proper information, two-thirds of people who learnthey have HIV are willing to reduce risky behaviors, but only one-third whodo not know they are infected will change their behavior, according to Dr.Rob Janssen, director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
After dropping dramatically in the 1990s, AIDS rates have stabilized,while HIV infections - especially among gay men - appear to be on the rise,CDC says, leading public health officials to focus more on encouraging safesex for those with HIV.
The new grants include:
*$23 million in prevention for positives, their partners, and people at highest risk of infection
*$14 million for counseling and testing
*$12 million for outreach and education.
Of organizations previously funded by CDC, two-thirds are not receivingmoney. Replacing these are 75 newly funded groups. While some blame politicsfor the change, Janssen said funding is based on groups' ability to meetCDC's goals, not politics, with money allocated according to AIDS rates. TheSouth, where HIV has increased substantially, will get 43 percent of thefunds.
Focusing on people with HIV can be counter-productive, said TerjeAnderson, executive director of the National Association of People withAIDS. "When you start shaking your finger and saying, 'bad boy,' and 'badgirl,' it's creating an environment that is stigmatizing."
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