CDC hunts for firm to direct three HIV prevention efforts

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is on the hunt for an agency to run three campaigns furthering a controversial new approach to HIV prevention.

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is on the hunt for an agency to run three campaigns furthering a controversial new approach to HIV prevention.

The CDC shifted its approach to HIV outreach last year, placing emphasis for the first time on those already infected. Rather than warn the general public about HIV's dangers, the new efforts seek to identify infected people sooner and prevent them from spreading the disease.

An RFP issued in May outlines three social marketing efforts, each targeting healthcare pros. One would seek to reduce barriers to prenatal HIV testing. Another would advise adoption of the CDC's Prevention in Care Recommendations, and a third would seek to make HIV testing a routine part of medical care.

The total budget for all three is not to exceed $700,000 annually. Each campaign is slated to last until August 2006.

The new approach has drawn the ire of critics who say it diverts money from efforts to educate at-risk people. It's been estimated that about two-thirds of HIV prevention groups previously funded by the CDC lost that funding in the most recent round of grants.

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