Chicago to receive $1 million federal grant for HIV testing, treatment

CDPC Commissioner Bechara Choucair. Photo: City of Chicago.

Chicago is set to receive nearly $1 million in federal funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration to be used for HIV testing and treatment at local mental health and substance abuse centers.

“Community Mental Health Centers provide the large majority of mental health services in Chicago,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair in a press release Monday. “Incorporating HIV testing and treatment in these settings is a critical step in enhancing our overall infrastructure.”

The $933,300 federal grant, announced on Sunday by the CDPH, is meant to help the city’s mental health and substance abuse centers add HIV testing and treatment, including counseling, to their services. It will also be used to provide the centers with condoms for free distribution and integrate HIV diagnosis into the current mental health practices.

The new grant money for HIV related services follows the city’s recent announcement to allocate $500,000 in city funds for mental heath centers to support their psychiatric services. Both funding announcements come as part of Mayor Emanuel’s Healthy Chicago initiative, the city’s first comprehensive public health program, which he announced last year.

“CDPH is in the process of reforming the City’s mental health services in order to provide the highest quality of care to existing and future patients across the City,” reads the press release. “The department is focused on making current services more efficient, making smart investments and encouraging new areas of funding in order to expand available mental health services for those in need.”

Request for Proposals, or applications for the federal grant money were made available Jan. 30, and are due to the CDPH by Feb. 17.