Health Notes: Grant to help prevent HIV in teens is less than expectedA state grant for a Duluth program that seeks to prevent HIV in teens is much less than had been sought.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
A state grant for a Duluth program that seeks to prevent HIV in teens is much less than had been sought.
Lutheran Social Service in Duluth is one of 20 agencies receiving $1.7 million in grants from the Minnesota Department of Health, a health department news release said.
The local program received $30,000 of that, said Cathy Bergh, director of children and family services for Lutheran Social Service in Duluth. It had asked for $70,000 for each of the next two years.
The local agency has provided outreach for AIDS and sexually transmitted disease programs through its free teen clinic for homeless and street youth for the past 12 years, Bergh said. In earlier years, the program had significant support from both the state health department and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said.
“Over the course of years, it’s really dwindled,” Bergh said. CDC support has disappeared entirely.
In a phone interview, the director of the health department’s sexually transmitted diseases and HIV section said there just wasn’t enough money to go around.
“The core issue is we don’t have enough resources to support all the work that needs to be done around the state,” Peter Carr said.
Carr noted that only 30 of 54 proposals were approved, and almost none received the amount requested. Most of the money is being spent in the Twin Cities because that’s where most cases of HIV are found, he said. A little more than 300 new cases are reported each year in Minnesota, and 90 percent of those are in the Twin Cities metro area.
“They proposed targeting their efforts toward homeless kids in Duluth and then some work in Fond du Lac,” Carr said of the Lutheran Social Service application. “And those kids are certainly at risk, but it’s a small segment of the overall greater Minnesota population at risk.”
Carr said the $30,000 amount likely would be available again next year. “Subsequent to that, we’re not sure; we just have to wait and see,” he said. “Our budget situation is just too fluid and unpredictable.”