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October 05, 2010 at 11:02 AM EDT
At Risk: Latinos at Health Risk Due to Lack of HIV Prevention Funding Directly From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); AGUILAS to Raise Public Awareness of Lack of CDC Direct Funding for Latino Agencies for 2010-2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 10/05/10 -- AGUILAS, Inc., a non-profit organization and the largest Gay Latino Organization in the San Francisco Bay Area, announced today that it is holding a press conference and community forum for Bay Area citizens and State of California community leaders in order to raise public awareness about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) lack of HIV Prevention Funding to Latino Agencies for 2010-2015.

The press conference and Town Hall Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at the San Francisco LGBTQ Center, 1800 Market Street, 4th Floor Ceremony Room, in San Francisco.

In August 2010, CDC awarded $42 million to be spread across 133 community-based organizations in the United States from 2010-2015. CDC declared Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) a top priority for funding, due to escalating HIV infection rates and AIDS cases. Despite the high priority for funding per CDC's strategic plan, CDC did not follow through on its own priorities and plans, resulting in a severe lack of resources for the Latino Americans.

"Only one Latino program found west of the Mississippi will be funded directly by the CDC through 2015. This constitutes not just a local risk, but a national health risk," said Eduardo Morales, Ph.D., executive director of AGUILAS and Distinguished Professor of Alliant International University. "When CDC allocated funds needed to change the HIV rates in communities most disproportionately affected, such as Latino communities and the diverse groups within those populations, its lack of HIV Prevention Funding to Latino MSM Agencies went contrary to the intention of Congress and CDC's own strategic plan and high priority for funding."

The seriousness of the issue becomes even more obvious when one considers U.S. Census figures: According to the 2008 U.S. Census, over 65% of all Latinos in the U.S. reside west of the Mississippi and Latino MSM represent over 78% of all Latinos with HIV/AIDS nationally. With only one program being funded by CDC west of the Mississippi where most Latino American reside, the funding comes down to just a small fraction of a penny per Latino. Although CDC funds HIV programs through state allocations, these funds are primarily designated for HIV testing. States and local health departments are not obligated to fund Latino-targeted programs and will model the funding patterns of CDC, and therefore will not likely reach Latinos for prevention and intervention services.

CDC HIV Prevention Funding 2010-2015: Inequities of Funding

  • There are seven Latino agencies across the U.S. providing HIV awareness to Latino MSM, only one of which is west of the Mississippi River. Six of these programs are in the eastern U.S., and these agencies focus more on the spectrum of at-risk groups, such as IV drug users and women and children, and may include Latino MSM.

  • The seven programs received 5.3% of the $42 million from the CDC, or $2,261,000. The funds are meant to address an estimated 20% of the total Latino HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S., with only $323,000 slated for the 65% of those Latinos who reside in the Los Angeles area. This puts the Latino MSM population at substantial risk.

This information comes to us per RFP CDC PS 10-1003: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/cboaward.html; http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/CBO-Awards-List-08-03-10-508.pdf.

Additional Funding Inequities: Lack of CDC Capacity Building Assistance Funding for Latinos for 2009-14

  • Of the $4,860,000 for Category B for Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) to communities over 4.5 years from CDC RFP PS 09-906, only one U.S. Latino agency out of 14 was funded to target Latinos/Latinas: the Latino Commission in New York City, with an average allocation of $347,143 per grant. The total capacity building assistance budget available for CDC to fund directly is $110 million over the 4.5 years. The Latino Commission will focus on the spectrum of risk groups that include IV drug users, women, children, and Latino MSM. See http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/funding/ps09-906/awards.htm.

  • The Latino Commission is the only grantee stated by the CDC to include Latino MSM. Dividing the allocations from the Latino Commission to the three high-risk groups of Latinos (IV drug users, women and children, and Latino MSM), attention to Latino MSM will be only 1/3 of their budget, for a total of $115,714 per year for the nation and Puerto Rico.

AGUILAS Town Hall Meeting and Press Conference: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 from 6PM to 8PM

AGUILAS and more than 14 collaborating agency partners are inviting Bay Area U.S. Senators, Members of Congress, State Senators, Members of the Assembly, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to assist in the effort to raise awareness and effect a change in the CDC HIV Prevention Funding to Latino MSM agencies. At this press conference and Town Hall meeting, State Senator Mark Leno, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Herb K. Schultz of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Michael Nava, attorney and activist, will address the inequities of funding by CDC.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome will give a proclamation about AIDS Latino Day, and present a certificate to an HIV activist from El Salvador, William Hernandez, who is coming to San Francisco as a guest of the AIDS Legal Referral Network.

The Press Conference and Town Hall Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at the San Francisco LGBTQ Center, 1800 Market Street, 4th Floor Ceremony Room, in San Francisco from 6:00PM to 8:00PM.

"AGUILAS' goal is to make Town Hall participants, community leaders and members of the media knowledgeable of the facts," said Dr. Morales. "We will also launch a letter writing campaign, using all social and professional networks, to petition President Barack Obama, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, US Comptroller General Gene M. Dodaro, and all senators and congressional representatives to press CDC for HIV prevention funding for agencies serving Latino MSM."

About AGUILAS

AGUILAS is dedicated to creating a supportive, culturally sensitive environment for gay/bisexual Latinos. We strive to foster knowledge and pride of the diversity of our language, culture, history and spirituality. AGUILAS is committed to developing programs that promote health, well being and community building that foster positive self-identities, healthy relationships and leadership skills. For more information, please visit www.sfaguilas.org.

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