CDC responds to SF HIV funding claim


Members of AGUILAS, an organization that serves the needs of gay and bisexual Latinos, including HIV awareness and prevention, held a town hall meeting Wednesday in San Francisco to address what they believed was a discrepancy in HIV prevention funding for Latino-oriented organizations.

AGUILAS had alleged that only one Latino program west of the Mississippi would receive funds from a CDC grant through 2015, but the agency issued a statement to respond to the claim.

The CDC said there are six organizations funded by the grant that serve Latinos in the Western region, five of which are in California. The grant targets 31 Latino organizations, 23 percent of the 133 organizations funded nationwide, according to CDC spokeswoman Elizabeth-Ann Chandler.

Latinos comprised 21 percent of AIDS diagnoses in 2008, Chandler said.

"While there will always be greater needs than there are resources, CDC has taken extensive steps to ensure funding matches the epidemic," she said.

Chandler said funding for community-based organizations is based on an objective, scientific-based process that is highly competitive.

"We know Latinos face a heavy burden of HIV," Chandler said According to the CDC website, today is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.

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