ATLANTA — Fulton County is combating HIV with a new, multi-million-dollar federal grant.
The $2.5 million federal grant from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will serve minority men with HIV, and those at risk, according to a press release.
The grant awarded to the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities and the Fulton County Board of Health will provide $500,000 per year up to five years and specifically targets Black and Latino men who have sex with men with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorders.
Alcoholism, drug abuse, risky sexual behavior and suicide attempts can be a reaction to homophobia, stigma and discrimination, according to the CDC.
These services will be provided through Fulton County's partners within Fulton County's Board of Health, Sexual Health Program, and contracted service providers Chris 180 and River Edge.
Additionally, the grant will increase retention in care rates and viral suppression rates among individuals who are already HIV positive.
"Through this groundbreaking initiative, our agency is demonstrating its commitment to continuously search for opportunities to support the Fulton County Board of Commissioners Strategic Area Priority of "All People Are Healthy," Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities Director LaTrina Foster said.
The Fulton County Board of Health will provide direct services through its Sexual Health Clinic as well as viral Hepatitis B and C on-site testing and referrals to treatment.
HIV affects disproportionately affects Black/African American gay and bisexual men more than any other group in the United States followed by Hispanic/Latino men, according to the CDC.
Black men make up 41 percent of the male population in Fulton County but account for 77% of new HIV diagnoses within Fulton.
Latino men make up 9 percent of Fulton's male population and account for 3 percent of new HIV diagnoses in the county, according to the Fulton County Board of Health.