Ohio Decides To Apply For Federal Funds Aimed at Preventing HIV Among TeenagersOhio Department of Education officials recently decided to apply for a $1.25 million, five-year grant from CDC intended to prevent the spread of HIV among teenagers, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (Rollenhagen, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/9). The department in late October had said it would not apply for the grant.
To receive a grant, each state must submit a five-year plan for promoting HIV prevention among teenagers and establish a panel to review materials that might be offered to schools. Ohio received the grant for 12 years but dropped out in 2000 after some state lawmakers disagreed with some language and condom-promotion aspects of a teacher-training program.
Karla Carruthers, a spokesperson for the department, last month said that the state does not have an existing program to support the grant and that developing one would require the Legislature to approve changes in the state's health education policies (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/1). Carruthers on Thursday said that department officials decided to apply for the grant following "conversations with the administration and legislative offices," including the office of Gov. Ted Strickland (D). Keith Dailey, a spokesperson for the governor, said Strickland supports the application.
According to the Plain Dealer, the education department received about 2,000 e-mails after the announcement that it would not apply for the grant, most of which were from people who wanted the state to apply. Earl Pike -- executive director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, who promoted an e-mail campaign -- said the decision to not apply "really struck a nerve for a lot of people across the state." Pike added that the task force is "thrilled" the department is "exercising leadership on the issue."
State education officials are working out the details of the application but plan to propose using the grant to create an HIV prevention program within the department, Carruthers said. CDC officials have said there is enough money for every state to receive a grant under the program. The application deadline is Nov. 21 (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/9). If the grant is awarded, Ohio could receive up to $250,000 annually for five years, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Ohio and Utah have been the only states not to apply for the grants in recent years (Candisky, Columbus Dispatch, 11/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.