Thursday, February 9, 2023

HIV testingand prevention in Tennessee may be more difficult to attain come this spring. Dozens of organizations across the state are bracing for the loss of significant federal funding for HIV prevention after the state declined nearly $9 million in government funds from the CDC. It’s a move that could result in a spike of new infections and be a bellwether for the rest of the nation — especially in red states ...

In Memphis, leaders are particularly concerned about what the funding cuts may mean because of the heightened risk factors in Shelby County. As recently as 2021, the Memphis area ranked third in the country for new HIV infections and first for new AIDS cases. It also had the fourth highest rate of poverty in U.S. cities larger than 500,000 people. 

“It just makes no sense,” Diane Duke, executive director of the Friends for Life in Memphis, says. “In one of the poorest states in the nation with great health disparities, huge transmission rates for HIV, why would you give that money back?” 

... Across the state in Memphis, Duke’s organization Friends for Life stands to lose more than $1.5 million in funding, which is distributed directly between their testing and treatment offerings, along with PrEP and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) access, and indirectly through pharmacy rebates for HIV meds. Even the nonprofit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which treats and researches HIV in addition to its cancer efforts, could lose funding.

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