AIDS Education:

Staffing and Funding Problems Impair Progress

HRD-89-124: Published: Jul 28, 1989. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) oversight of programs to prevent the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), focusing on: (1) the Center for Prevention Services' (CPS) actual and targeted staffing levels for managing AIDS cooperative agreements; (2) oversight of federally-funded AIDS prevention activities; and (3) problems in the funding cycles of AIDS prevention cooperative agreements.

GAO found that: (1) CPS funding for cooperative agreements with state and local health departments for AIDS prevention increased from about $25 million in 1986 to about $144 million in 1989; (2) CPS did not have enough staff to keep up with its growing responsibilities to provide technical assistance and monitor health department activities; (3) although CPS requested 67 additional staff in October 1988, CDC approved only 24; (4) CPS also encountered problems in hiring individuals with the requisite specialized skills; (5) although CDC required state and local health departments to develop measurable program objectives, many had not gathered and used baseline data to manage their AIDS education programs; (6) irregular federal and state funding and a cumbersome grant application procedure prevented quick response to the AIDS epidemic; (7) CDC reduced the funding in 1988 because it had to conduct a national study and mail brochures nationwide, but reduced the 1988 funding cycle from 12 to 8 months, rather than reducing monthly expenditure levels; and (8) the irregular funding cycles reflected the CDC response to rapidly changing knowledge about the AIDS epidemic.

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