Kirk Myers


JAMES RUSSELL  |  Staff Writer

Two Dallas community-based organizations are among the 90 CBOs nationwide chosen to receive a total of $216 million in new funding distributed over a five year period to strengthen HIV prevention efforts, according to a statement released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The funded organizations are in the 50 geographic areas that reported the highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2011. Dallas has the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in Texas.

Health-issue-logoDallas CBOs receiving funds are Abounding Prosperity Inc. and AIDS Arms Inc. The two agencies will implement the Free World Bound High Impact Prevention project linking HIV-positive formerly incarcerated persons who are re-entering society to health care and treatment utilizing evidence-based intervention practices.

The FWB HIP program fills a critical gap in HIV prevention and care for the formerly incarcerated, an area often overlooked in HIV prevention, according to a statement released by AIDS arms.

According to the CDC, an estimated one out of every seven people with HIV in the country have spent time in prison each year, the majority having been infected prior to their incarceration. A variety of factors, including increased likelihood of injection drug use, commercial sex work, untreated mental illness and lower socioeconomic status put the formerly incarcerated at higher risk of infection.

Abounding Prosperity’s CEO Kirk Myers said his $1.7 million CDC grant includes further outreach to HIV-positive and at-risk gay and bisexual black men through his organization’s Brothers Excelling Successfully Together program.

Additional funding will cover prevention and outreach efforts to black transgender women, who are also at high risk for becoming infected.

Other Texas CBOs on the list are AIDS Foundation Houston Inc., BEAT AIDS Coalition Trust in San Antonio, Change Happens in Houston and St. Hope Foundation in Houston.

“The selected CBOs have demonstrated experience and on-the-ground expertise serving populations most affected by the epidemic, including African-Americans, men who have sex with men, transgender individuals and people who inject drugs,” according to the CDC statement.

The funds allow CBOs to further invest in the most cost-effective and impactful interventions, including HIV testing, condom distribution, improving treatment among people with HIV, and ensuring access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for people at high risk of infection.
Dr. Eugene McCray, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said the funding includes, for the first time, a component allowing organization to pool their expertise and resource into “prevention partnerships.” Of the 90 organizations receiving funds, 30 will serve as the lead of a partnership comprised of several organizations.

“It’s clear that we need to focus our limited resources on strategies that can have the greatest possible impact,” McCray said. “This funding targets local communities to help maximize the impact of every federal prevention dollar. By delivering powerful prevention tools where they’re needed most, we can have a transformative impact on the epidemic.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 10, 2015.