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AIDS: CDC announces new funding for HIV prevention
by Sarah Toce

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control ( CDC ) estimates that HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of more than 550,000 Americans. At the end of 2008, an estimated 1,178,350 persons aged 13 and older were living with HIV infection in the United States. Of those, 20% had undiagnosed HIV infections.

In part because of this, the CDC has chosen to award $339 million to local health departments for high-impact HIV programs promoting prevention and education over a span of five years. There are also new guidelines for prioritizing the most effective prevention programs that will have the greatest impact on reducing new HIV infections statewide as well as nationally.

Funds were awarded to health departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, eight U.S. territories and eight cities with heavy HIV burdens. The funds are allocated to individual health departments according to a formula that better matched resources to the geographic burden of HIV, as measured by the number of people reported living with HIV in each jurisdiction.

The CDC funding to Illinois for 2009 was $18,270,586.

"With 50,000 new HIV infections every year and a tough economic environment, the need to do more with existing resources is greater than ever," said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

Fenton continued, "This new approach to prevention funding is designed to focus on the places where needs are most urgent and on the programs that will have the most far-reaching impact. It will help us achieve the ambitious goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy with the efficiency and urgency the HIV epidemic demands."

In 2009, there were 1,708 new infections diagnosed in Illinois. The lifetime treatment cost for newly infected individuals in Illinois is $627 million. According to the CDC, Illinois reported 37,880 AIDS cases, cumulatively, from the beginning of the epidemic through December 2008 and the state ranked 8th highest among the 50 states in cumulative reported AIDS cases.

To offer a comparison for the same timeframe in neighboring states, Indiana reported 9,186 AIDS cases ( ranking 24th highest ) , Ohio reported 17,129 ( ranking 14th highest ) , Iowa reported 1,936 ( ranking 39th highest ) , Wisconsin reported 4,999 ( ranking 31st highest ) , and Michigan reported 16,866 ( ranking 15th highest ) .

Overall, the states with the highest number of new diagnoses in 2009 resulting in the greatest financial burden were Texas ( 77,070—ranking 4th highest ) , Florida ( 117,612—ranking 3rd highest ) , California ( 160,293—ranking 2nd highest ) , and New York ( 192,753—ranking 1st ) . To put this into perspective, figures from 2009 reveal that it costs the state of New York $1,707 million annually for treatment costs of HIV/AIDS. Additional state rankings can be accessed directly in-depth here the CDC Website,, for 2010 NCHHSTP State Profiles.

"State and local health departments are the backbone of the nation's HIV prevention efforts," said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. "This latest round of funding will help them lead the nation to slow, and ultimately end, the HIV epidemic in the United States—a public health imperative that could finally be achieved."

The Illinois Department of Public Health also offers a Quality of Life Endowment Fund. The Website states:

"On October 11, 2007, PA-95-674 was signed into law, creating the Quality of Life Illinois Lottery game called 'Red Ribbon Cash' or 'Red Ribbon Bonus Bucks.' Net proceeds from the sale of these tickets are deposited into the Quality of Life Endowment Fund. The Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Health Protection, uses the proceeds generated from the scratch-off tickets to grant funds to public and private entities with HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment programs that serve individuals at the highest risk for contracting HIV infection or developing AIDS. Grants awarded from the fund are intended to augment current and future state funding for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and are not intended to replace that funding."

Source: CDC HIV Surveillance Report 2009, Vol 21.

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