Two SAMHSA HIV/AIDS Programs
Two SAMHSA-funded programs serve as effective partners in the outreach effort to build awareness and bring rapid testing and other services to people at high risk for HIV/AIDS.
“Directly, 28 percent of all AIDS transmission can be attributed to substance abuse according to data from the 2005 HIV Surveillance Report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said David Thompson, HIV Team Leader at SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT).
These two SAMHSA grant programs—key tools in this effort—are the Targeted Capacity Expansion Grants for Substance Abuse Services and HIV/AIDS Services (TCE/HIV) and the Rapid HIV Testing Initiative (RHTI).
Currently, the TCE/HIV program, funded by CSAT, has approximately 120 5-year grantees around the Nation. And RHTI includes approximately 35 SAMHSA-supported agencies, funded as SAMHSA grantees or through state block grants program. (See SAMHSA News online, November/December 2004.)
Both of the programs are funded under SAMHSA’s Minority AIDS Initiative, which helps provide prevention, treatment, and mental health services programs to populations who are at risk for HIV or are currently living with HIV.
According to a recent survey from CDC, an estimated one in four Americans who are infected with HIV are unaware of their HIV status. “That means approximately a quarter of a million people don’t know whether or not they are infected with HIV,” Mr. Thompson added. “And many of them come through the doors of SAMHSA-funded service providers.” That gives SAMHSA the potential to have a significant impact on helping at-risk people with rapid testing and then connecting them with the services they need.
SAMHSA’s TCE/HIV grantees enhance and expand substance abuse treatment and/or outreach and pretreatment services in conjunction with HIV/AIDS services in African American, Latino/Hispanic, and/or other racial or ethnic communities highly affected by both substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.
RHTI provides outreach and substance abuse treatment agencies with the materials and training needed to use an FDA-approved HIV screening test, which delivers reliable results in about 20 minutes, rather than the 48 hours required by earlier tests.
This shortened wait period is crucial. About one-third of individuals who test positive for HIV each year at publicly funded testing sites never return for their test results. With rapid testing, there’s no need to come back. Preliminary results are available literally in minutes; however, a final confirmation test is required for all preliminary-positive tests.
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Finding People Where They Are
The TCE/HIV and RHTI programs are bringing improved outreach and substance abuse treatment services to high-risk populations by finding people in their own neighborhoods where they spend time or where they receive substance abuse treatment.
For example, one SAMHSA TCE/HIV and RHTI grantee in Long Island, NY, uses a “low-visibility” camper van to help reach those individuals—at risk for AIDS and substance abuse problems—who have difficulty accessing services because of sparse public transportation. (See Expanding HIV Assistance: Outreach, Testing for At-Risk Individuals.)
Mr. Thompson explained that grantees must also undertake activities such as education, referrals, actual substance abuse treatment, case management, tracking, housing, and followup.
For more information, visit the SAMHSA Web site at www.samhsa.gov.
« See Part 1: Outreach, Testing for At-Risk Individuals
« See Part 2: Outreach, Testing for At-Risk Individuals
See Also—Expanding HIV Assistance
Resources on HIV/AIDS »
HIV/AIDS Consumer Guide
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