July 14, 2000

HHS Awards Nearly $3 Million for HIV/AIDS Care Along U.S.-Mexico Border

WASHINGTON, July 11 -- HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act first-year funding of nearly $3 million to support five community-based health care organizations and one center for improving and evaluating early detection of HIV and use of health care services for people with HIV disease living in the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border region. A total of $14.3 million will be awarded during the five-year program.

"These grants will help us develop and mobilize a comprehensive response to the growing HIV/AIDS crisis in this part of the country where health care is limited by poverty, lack of education and isolation," said Secretary Shalala. "We expect these grants to support more innovative and effective ways to deliver HIV/AIDS care to border communities."

First year grants from HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration go to Camino de Vida Center for HIV Services, Las Cruces, N.M.; Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Inc., El Paso, Texas; El Rio Santa Cruz Neighborhood Center, Tucson, Ariz.; San Ysidro Health Center, Inc., San Ysidro, Calif.; and Valley AIDS Council, Harlingen, Texas. The evaluation center for the five projects is at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

The grants are funded through programs managed by HRSA's HIV/AIDS Bureau and the Bureau of Primary Health Care. HAB administers the CARE Act, which provides primary care and support services for low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. CARE Act support includes $1.9 million in core funding from the Special Projects of National Significance program, which demonstrates and evaluates innovative models of HIV/AIDS care and delivery. Another $550,000 comes from the CARE Act's Title III program, which supports early access to primary health care services to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS, delay the onset of illness, facilitate access to care, and provide psychological and social support to people with HIV/AIDS.

Some $500,000 from the BPHC community and migrant health centers programs is going to the five sites to help border region health centers deliver comprehensive primary care services to people with HIV/AIDS. These centers provide access to family-oriented preventive and primary health care services for people living in rural and urban medically underserved communities.

"This initiative is an excellent example of how HRSA's programs work together to strengthen our ability to deliver care," said HRSA Administrator Claude Earl Fox, M.D., M.P.H. "Access to quality HIV/AIDS care is a HRSA priority, especially among low-income and medically under-served families and individuals."

Today's grants support HRSA's larger U.S.-Mexico Border Health Program, which serves communities from San Ysidro, Calif., to Brownsville, Texas. More than one-third of families in this area live at or below the poverty line, and the unemployment ate is 250-300 percent higher than the rest of the United States.

Health care access is a challenge without enough doctors, other health professionals, hospitals, and bilingual health providers and information in the border area.

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