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CDC, The Body: HIV/AIDS Funding Delay an Obstacle for Agencies

HIV/AIDS Funding Delay an Obstacle for Agencies
from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 22, 2011

Together with bureaucratic problems, Congress’ delay in passing the 2011 budget has caused a months-long hold-up of funds for basic medical care and support services for low-income people with HIV. Each year, about $640 million is distributed to metropolitan areas most affected by HIV/AIDS by the 12-month period beginning in March, while $1.2 billion goes to states and the District of Columbia by April.

However, Congress delayed passing the fiscal 2011 budget until early April. In turn, the federal Health and Human Resources Administration was delayed in calculating grants; this hampered planning by local officials and agencies. Moreover, HRSA staff turnover contributed to errors in calculating awards and created a backlog, according to participants of an early August call between HRSA officials and providers.

“A very large part of the delay was created by Congress,” said William McColl, political director of AIDS United and co-chair of a Ryan White monitoring group. McColl organized the telephone conference after hearing that city officials on both coasts were looking for their funds.

A HRSA spokesperson said a significant portion of grants had been awarded last month, and nearly $700 million will be distributed as soon as possible. Officials said they were not aware of any delay-related service cuts.

On Friday, federal and District officials differed on the outstanding amount due the local region. Only 36 percent of the funds have arrived, said Greg Pappas, senior deputy director of the District’s HIV/AIDS administration. However, federal officials said all but $1.7 million of about $31 annually has been paid, mostly last month, with the remainder to be sent the week beginning August 21st.

Pappas said no services have been hit by the lapse, adding, “We are making plans to make sure that services continue.”

However, mental health care for 100 youths with HIV-positive caregivers is being complicated by the delays, says Adam Tenner, executive director of D.C.-based Metro TeenAIDS. City officials told Tenner they cannot move forward without clear federal funding.

This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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