Issues Concerning CDC's AIDS Education Programs

T-HRD-88-18: Published: Jun 8, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 1988.

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GAO discussed the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) education programs designed to limit the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). GAO found that: (1) the CDC budget for AIDS activities grew from about $13.8 million in fiscal year (FY) 1984 to about $305 million in FY 1988; (2) education programs that targeted high-risk groups accounted for most of the CDC AIDS education budget; (3) CDC assigned an insufficient number of staff to monitor state and local health departments and advise them on how to develop and create effective AIDS education programs; (4) the state and local departments had limited baseline data on the level of community knowledge about AIDS and on the level of behavior practices that spread HIV; (5) the lack of baseline data limited the ability of CDC and the health departments to identify specific needs for AIDS health education, set priorities, establish objectives, and evaluate results; and (6) health departments conducted an insufficient amount of counseling and testing of high-risk groups. GAO believes that: (1) the federal government should take the lead in identifying and promoting effective AIDS education and counseling approaches; and (2) CDC should continue to evaluate AIDS education and counseling approaches and to modify its requirements and guidelines.

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