The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is awarding $45.1 million in grants to meet the behavioral health needs of people who either are at risk for contracting or are living with HIV/AIDS.
Among SAMHSA’s priorities are curbing HIV/AIDS transmission among people who have mental illnesses or substance use disorders (SUDs) and linking to HIV care Americans who have HIV and co-occurring mental illness and/or SUDs.
“SAMHSA programs such as these are representative of our commitment to helping America’s communities reduce disease transmission,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., who leads SAMHSA. “They also help equip communities to facilitate people’s access to appropriate treatments and recovery supports for their mental health and substance use disorders.”
The $45.1 million grant funding comprises:
- Minority AIDS Initiative: Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations at High Risk for HIV/AIDS (MAI – High-Risk Populations) – This grant program works to increase engagement in care for racially and ethnically underrepresented individuals who have substance use disorders (SUD) and/or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders (COD) who also are at risk of contracting or who are living with HIV/AIDS and receive HIV/AIDS services or treatment: $30.4 million. Read about the recipients awarded this grant.
- Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Navigator Program for Racial/Ethnic Minorities Cooperative Agreement (Prevention Navigator) – This grant program seeks to provide substance misuse and HIV prevention services to racial or ethnic minority males at risk for HIV/AIDS. The program places an emphasis on males who have sex with other males, including transgender individuals, as well as those who identify as LGBTQ+ who are not in stable housing and reside in communities with high incidence rates of HIV: $5.5 million. Read about the recipients awarded this grant.
- Minority AIDS Initiative – Service Integration – The purpose of this program is to provide resources to help reduce the co-occurring epidemics of HIV, hepatitis, and mental health disorders through accessible, evidence-based, culturally appropriate mental and co-occurring disorder treatment that is integrated with HIV primary care and prevention services: $9.2 million. Read about the recipients awarded this grant.
SAMHSA funding and efforts support harm reduction – which is a pillar of the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy. One element of harm reduction involves working to lessen harms associated with drug use and related behaviors that increase the risk of infectious diseases – including HIV, viral hepatitis, and bacterial and fungal infections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at the end of 2019, an estimated 1,189,700 people aged 13 and older had HIV in the United States, including an estimated 158,500 (13 percent) people whose infections had not been diagnosed.
To find treatment options for mental health and substance use disorders, call SAMHSA’s 24/7 National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.