NASTAD and AIDS United announced Friday, February 18, the Tier One awardees of a new grants program, Expanding Syringe Services Programs Capacity to Respond to COVID-19. This unique funding opportunity awarded $7.5 million to syringe services programs across three tiers of the project to assist in their COVID-19 pandemic response. Friday’s announcement was for tier one of the project, a total of $5 million in grants. The initiative is supported by a cooperative agreement from the collaborative centers within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is a major investment in syringe service programs,” said Jesse Milan Jr., president and CEO of AIDS United. “People who use drugs deserve attention, and yet they have been too often underserved by public health resources. These investments are giving harm reduction programs the ability to address the increase in overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic while also building the programs’ capacities to provide other services like HIV testing. Syringe service programs are gateways to health and wellness for people who use drugs, and we at AIDS United could not be more proud to be a part of this important project.”

Dr. Stephen Lee, executive director of NASTAD, said, “We are honored that NASTAD and AIDS United are trusted partners to implement this essential project that strengthens the capacity of SSPs to include services to end the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has been a top priority over the last two years and it is imperative that we utilize SSPs to expand access to resources and services for marginalized communities who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Under Tier One of the initiative, AIDS United awarded $5 million to 50 organizations responding to COVID-19 in their communities. This project will support the development and implementation of best practices for COVID-19 and other adult vaccination, either on-site or by increasing navigation to community-based vaccination. These strategies and activities will assist SSPs to implement comprehensive, sustainable COVID-19 and other vaccination within SSPs, improve services provided and enhance national understanding of how to successfully reach people who use drugs and offer diversified health services.

Meet the grantees:

  • AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance, North Carolina
  • Asian American Drug Abuse Program Inc., California
  • Bronx Móvil, New York
  • Charm City Care Connection, Maryland
  • Chattanooga CARES, Tennessee
  • Cochise Harm Reduction, Arizona
  • Confluence HRKC, Missouri
  • Face to Face, California
  • Fargo Cass Public Health, North Dakota
  • Florida Harm Reduction Collective, Florida
  • Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County, California
  • Harm Reduction Services Inc., California
  • Health Brigade (formerly Fan Free Clinic), Virginia
  • Holler Harm Reduction, North Carolina
  • HRH413, Massachusetts
  • Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction, California
  • Idaho Harm Reduction Project, Idaho
  • Impact Exchange, Nevada
  • Indiana Recovery Alliance, Indiana
  • Iniciativa Comunitaria de Investigación Inc., Puerto Rico
  • Inland Empire Harm Reduction, California
  • Intercambios PR, Puerto Rico
  • SPARC (Johns Hopkins), Maryland
  • Maine Access Points, Maine
  • MaineGeneral Medical Center, Maine
  • Migrant Health Center Inc., Puerto Rico
  • Milan Puskar Health Right, West Virginia
  • NC Harm Reduction Coalition Inc., North Carolina
  • New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition, New Hampshire
  • New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition, New Jersey
  • New York Harm Reduction Educators, New York
  • NEXT Harm Reduction, New York
  • NO/AIDS Task force dba CrescentCare, Louisiana
  • Oklahoma Harm Reduction Alliance, Oklahoma
  • One Voice Recovery, Utah
  • Phoenix Center, Illinois
  • Prevention Point Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Project Weber/RENEW, Rhode Island
  • Quad Cities Harm Reduction, Illinois
  • Rebel Recovery Florida Inc., Florida
  • SHOTS (Stop Harm on Tulsa Streets), Oklahoma
  • The Aliveness Project, Minnesota
  • The Sidewalk Project, California
  • Trystereo/New Orleans Harm Reduction Network, Louisiana
  • Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition, Virginia
  • WeCareTn, Tennessee
  • West Oakland Punks with Lunch, California
  • IDEA – Tampa, Florida

In 2021, as part of the COVID-19 response under the American Rescue Plan Act and in partnership with collaborative centers within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resources to support SSPs and expand their overall capacity to provide COVID-19 vaccination, education, testing and expanded services for additional adult vaccination were awarded to NASTAD and partner, AIDS United. This one-year demonstration project, with expanded authority to extend its impact beyond the first year, aims to strengthen the capacity of SSPs to serve as critically essential access points for COVID-19 vaccination services, general COVID-19 response interventions and broadened adult vaccination services for people who use drugs.