Marking the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS Epidemic

June 2, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

Thirty years ago, on June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control published its first report on cases of a rare lung disease (pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or PCP) that had infected several gay men in Los Angeles who were also displaying signs of additional immune system problems. Media coverage of that initial report led to a flood of reports into the CDC from across the U.S. about similar cases. And the AIDS epidemic had officially begun.

In 1983, Congress passed the first bill with targeted funding for AIDS research, which gave the Department of Health and Human Services $12 million for its agencies.

The administration’s website has a full chronology of the epidemic here. It’s an interesting and thorough breakdown of how the epidemic and the associated funding streams for research and services have evolved over the last three decades.

The largest source of HIV-specific federal grants is the HHS’ Health Resources and Service Administration’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, named for the Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS from hemophilia treatments and later emerged as a national spokesperson for AIDS education, treatment and funding. Many other agencies now also offer discretionary grants for HIV/AIDS-related projects.

Congress enacted the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act in 1990, the same year that White himself died of AIDS-related illnesses. In its first year, the CARE Act provided $220.5 million in federal funds for HIV community-based care and treatment services.

Federal funding continues to support HIV/AIDS-related projects, although the focus has shifted somewhat. For example, HRSA recently awarded $550,000 to Emory University for its Enhancing Linkages to HIV Care and Treatment in Jail Settings Initiative, Evaluation and Support Center. The funding will provide continued support for the project to collect, analyze and share data about effective approaches for linking HIV-positive inmates with medical care and support services.

In commemoration of the anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, – the website that shares information on the administration’s national HIV/AIDS strategy –  is hosting a webinar/conference call on June 15 at 3 pm for federal employees and grantees that work with domestic HIV/AIDS programs about the “state and future of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.”   Officials from HHS, HRSA, CDC, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Institutes of Health and the White House Office of National AIDS Policy are scheduled to participate. Interested attendees must register by June 10.


Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *