Who Benefits from Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) Funding?

In 1998 African Americans surpassed White people as the population with the largest number of new cases of HIV.  After the data was released, 30 Black leaders met with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to demand action.  The effort was led by Dr. Beny Primm, then board chair of NMAC.  He had NMAC’s Director of Government Relations, Miguelina Maldonado, work with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional A/PI Caucus to create the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI).  The goal for the MAI was to build the infrastructure of minority-led community-based nonprofits to minimize the racial divide in HIV health outcomes for African Americans and all people of color.
After 20 years of MAI funding, which communities benefited the most?
From 1998 to 2018, African Americans with HIV went from 39 percent of the cases in 1998 to 41 percent of the cases in 2018.  White people went from 40 percent of the cases in 1998 to 29 percent of the cases in 2018.  The Latinx community went from 19.5 percent of the cases to 23 percent in 2018.  Asians went from 0.78 percent to 1.5 percent of the cases.  American Indians/Alaska Natives stayed level at 0.3 percent.  After 20 years of MAI and other funding, only the White community saw a significant decrease in HIV cases.

That outcome speaks directly to the question the Biden/Harris administration is trying to unpack with the Executive Order looking at racial equity across all government programs: to not just look at how race impacts access and funding, but also how to make the system fair.  They are seeking community input on how to make this happen.

Per an email from the White House:

“Through the Office of Management and Budget, the Biden-Harris administration is soliciting input from stakeholders in the public, private, advocacy, not-for-profit, and philanthropic sectors, including State, local, Tribal, and territorial areas.  This request for information (RFI) seeks answers to dozens of questions critical to the administration’s efforts to advance equity, including how agencies can address known burdens or barriers to accessing benefits programs in their assessments of benefits delivery, and what practices agencies should put in place to reach rural areas and communities that might not be able to visit Washington, D.C., to engage directly with policymakers.

“A link to the RFI can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/05/2021-09109/methods-and-leading-practices-for-advancing-equity-and-support-for-underserved-communities-through

“Responses are due: Tuesday, July 6, 2021

I believe the White House understands the system is unfair.  The challenge is how to fix it. NMAC hopes you will respond to this RFI and write about your solutions. As we get ready to prepare our response, I will share our journey.  This question is core to NMAC’s mission.  How do we change the structural racism that is baked into the federal government?

Yours in the struggle,
Paul Kawata
NMACPaul Kawata