Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated Arizona on receiving $235,829 from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to improve HIV/AIDS testing and reporting services statewide. The total includes $145,567 for expanded testing aimed at prevention and early detection and $90,262 to improve health test reporting between public and private labs.
The funds are part of a new $9.9 million nationwide efforts by HHS to improve HIV prevention. Each state received the same amount for expanded testing, while laboratory reporting grants ranged from $9,797 (American Samoa) to $400,000 (Florida).
Arizona is facing a shortfall in HIV/AIDS funding, according to state information, and Rep. Grijalva called the newly announced grants “a crucial boost in our efforts to help residents facing this disease. This is not an issue we can afford to put out of our minds or sweep under the rug – we need to do everything we can to make sure HIV and AIDS are stopped. The health of our neighborhoods and our communities depends on all levels of government doing their part, and I’m glad to see the state receiving these timely funds.”
The reporting grant will go primarily to improve information sharing on the results of so-called CD4 and VL test results. The former monitors immune system function, with lower CD4 counts used as an indicator for AIDS risk in HIV-positive patients. The latter measures incidences of HIV genetic material, with high counts indicating an increased risk of greater infection. The expanded testing funds will increase HIV testing opportunities for disproportionately affected populations and inform them of appropriate services.
“As treatment and prevention research continues, we have to be there to support the many Americans – in Arizona and every other state – who already deal with HIV and AIDS on a daily basis,” Grijalva said. “We don’t turn our back on those who can’t afford treatment or who have lost jobs because of their condition. We need to do more to make sure people living with these diseases can live their lives to the fullest instead of leaving them alone to face financial or professional setbacks.”