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Part F: Continued

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Origins of the Minority AIDS Initiative

The Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) has been providing resources to the Ryan White Program since 1999, but it was not included in the legislation until the 2006 reauthorization. The MAI’s roots can be traced to a March 1998 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consultation with African-American community leaders and HIV prevention program grantees.

“We were presented with stark and depressing news about [the] continuing impact of HIV in communities of color, and much to our dismay, there was no offer of additional assistance or a strategy,” says H. Alexander Robinson, who participated in the meeting and served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS at the time. “We were confronted with a lack of creativity, and we saw that was driven by a paucity of resources.”7

The participants developed a call to action with nine demands, among them the declaration by the President and the Surgeon General of a “state of emergency” in the African-American community. That demand was endorsed by the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which also convened a forum on the issue.

Launch of the CBC Initiative

Advocates worked with CBC staff to draft language targeting funds to address HIV/AIDS in the African-American and Latino communities. The funding was ultimately included in the FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Those appropriations, which provided $22.3 million to the Ryan White Program in that first year as well as significant resources for other HIV/AIDS programs, marked the launch of the CBC initiative. Together with members of Congress, President Clinton announced the creation of the CBC Initiative to be implemented within the Department of Health and Human Services, providing an additional $36 million.8,9

The following year, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus joined forces with the CBC to advocate for increased resources. The initiative was expanded to include Asian-Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in addition to the African-American and Latino communities and was renamed the Minority AIDS Initiative. In the ensuing years, MAI continued to fund Federal initiatives through the annual appropriations bill. The first 2 years of the MAI provided funds to Title I, Title III, Title IV, and Part F/AETCs of the CARE Act. The funding continued in subsequent years and added Title II in FY 2001. The Department of Health and Human Services allocated additional MAI funding each year to the HIV/AIDS Bureau to increase the skills and capacity of community-based organizations, support service providers, and consumers.8,9

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The Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative (MAI) is part of the larger effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health status. The following agencies have been involved in working with the MAI toward this goal:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Office of Minority Health
  • Indian Health Services

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