Ful­ton County re­turns mil­lions in fund­ing meant for HIV pre­ven­tion

GA Voice - - News Briefs -

The agency re­spon­si­ble for cur­tail­ing the ex­plod­ing num­ber of new HIV in­fec­tions in At­lanta has been re­turn­ing some­times as much or more of the money it re­ceives from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) due to fail­ure to spend it.

WABE re­ports that since 2012, the CDC has awarded the Ful­ton County Health Depart­ment grants to­tal­ing nearly $20 mil­lion to fund HIV pre­ven­tion ef­forts. In the first two years, the county spent about half the money, and in 2014 they spent more than half, in the process leav­ing on the ta­ble $8.7 mil­lion that should have gone to the fight against HIV.

Dr. Pa­trice Har­ris, direc­tor of health ser­vices for Ful­ton County, tells WABE there are many rea­sons for the over­sight, in­clud­ing the grant’s fund­ing cy­cle, the amount of time needed to hire and train per­son­nel, turnover and county bu­reau­cracy. Har­ris is prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor of the grant and is re­spon­si­ble for ex­e­cut­ing the county’s HIV pre­ven­tion strat­egy.

The health depart­ment falls un­der the over­sight of the Ful­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, whose chair John Eaves tells WABE that he just learned of the spend­ing prob­lems days ago, call­ing them “in­ex­cus­able.”

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