The Indian Health Service (IHS), the federal Native-American health care organization, is aiming to improve HIV education and prevention in the Native-American community through individual grants.
The IHS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will also provide its expertise on the disease, are awarding up to $1 million to Native-American tribes and organizations for HIV prevention and care, The Associated Press reports. The funding may also go to organizations like Two-Spirit, a Native-American LGBT group.
The grant comes at a time when HIV-positive Native Americans have poorer survival rates compared with other ethnicities. The IHS hopes to reduce the number of new infections, decrease transmissions and increase discussion and education about HIV in the Native-American community.
“IHS data shows that as many as 26 percent of the American Indian and Alaska Native people living with HIV infection do not know it,” Rear Adm. Sarah Linde, MD, the acting chief medical officer of the Indian Health Service, told The Associated Press.
The HIV infection rate among American Indians and Alaska Natives is proportional to their population size, but their community faces specific challenges, such as poverty and mistrust of government-run health care. According to the CDC, fear of disclosure and poor-quality care has deterred Native Americans from seeking IHS help.
The funding will come over a span of five years, with up to $200,000 being granted per year. In order to receive funding, tribes and nonprofits must apply by August 28—individual organizations will likely receive between $20,000 and $100,000.