The CDC has awarded a $2 million grant — the total amount for five years — focused on HIV prevention to Community Health Awareness Group (CHAG). The grant will go toward implementing a high-impact project for young men of color who have sex with men. LGBT Detroit will help CHAG with the work.
“For over 35 years, CHAG has worked tirelessly to address Detroit’s HIV challenge using the most effective proven interventions in response to the needs of those most at-risk,” CHAG CEO Cindy Bolden Calhoun said. “This new funding opportunity uniquely positions our organization in collaboration with LGBT Detroit to address those core social determinants.”
Those determinants include health and access to quality healthcare, education, poverty, stigma and racism, and Calhoun said these factors continue to plague young Black men who have sex with men.
The generous award will continue to advance the parallel missions of both CHAG and LGBT Detroit to help improve the quality of life of Detroit’s African American community by addressing current health issues and developing effective ways of promoting and implementing positive health strategies.
Barbara Locke, CHAG’s director of finance and prevention programs, told Pride Source that the new grant opportunity “is very unique in that allows us to not only target or prioritize HIV prevention and intervention services, but it allows us to address those core social determinants that place individuals at higher risk for HIV.”
Locke said the approach of the program is called a “status neutral approach,” impacting both those who are HIV positive and those who test negative.
“Whether you’re negative or positive you get the same type of support to get into care if you’re HIV positive or help you stay negative should that be the case. … Back in the day, if you were negative, we’d talk about condoms and that’s about it.”
But now, if you test negative, “we want you to stay negative,” said Locke. “We want you to get on PrEP and stay on it and be adherent to it. And we’ll provide you the support to help you do it.”
Locke said she is excited about working again with LGBT Detroit. “They’re a great organization,” she said. “We’ve partnered with them before, and it allows us to expand the work. They will function as a safe space where the community can gather.”
Find the full list of grant recipients on the CDC's website.Correction: A previous version of this story reported that 16 Michigan organizations received a portion of this grant money. However, only CHAG received $2 million from the CDC.