It’s been almost three months since the Tennessee Health Department announced they would no longer accept and distribute federal funding for HIV prevention-related services.
However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has taken matters into their own hands and will now reroute some of the funding through a Nashville-based nonprofit organization.
The CDC will send $4 million in funding — a little less than half of the $9 million in previous grants — to the United Way of Greater Nashville, who will then disperse the federal funding to other organizations, according to The Tennessean.
“The CDC’s decision to partner with the United Way of Greater Nashville to send federal funds directly to organizations that provide HIV prevention and treatment services in Tennessee will preempt a public health crisis that has the potential to spread well beyond the borders of the Volunteer State,” said Toni Newman, director of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements, in a statement.
Newman, a Black trans woman, also said of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, “Lee is the first governor to ever reject the life-saving federal funding, a move that has nothing to do with cutting through bureaucratic red tape.”
The decision by the CDC is rare at minimum.
Although it remains to be seen how the new channel of federal funding will be divvied up, many of the organizations affected by the state’s decision formed a statewide coalition to express immense gratitude for the CDC’s decision.