An All-Hands-on-Deck Event in Tennessee

This piece originally appeared on

Following Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s announcement in January that he planned to use state funds instead of federal dollars for HIV prevention, the Tennessee Department of Health rejected approximately $8.8 million in federal money for HIV prevention services.

Soon afterward, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guaranteed a one-year grant of $4 million to Tennessee nonprofits. As part of an ongoing tennis match, the state legislature responded by adding $9 million in new money to the HIV prevention budget. However, HIV advocates are concerned about how and whether this money will reach community organizations that serve the most vulnerable populations.

Operating in a Newly Uncertain Terrain

In the absence of CDC funding, this leaves AIDS service organizations (ASOs) throughout the state scrambling to fill huge budgetary voids. PEAS (Partnership to End AIDS Status), a small but effective crew of five staff members, is one such organization. Their mission is to deliver services and comprehensive HIV and hepatitis C testing and education to the most highly affected communities when they need it most (beyond typical 9-to-5 timelines) and in non-traditional settings.

Read the full piece online.