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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
OHIO: Ohio Says Cincinnati Can't Administer STD Grants

January 11, 2012
Associated Press (01.06.12) - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cincinnati has lost control of nearly $737,000 in state STD grants for 2012, with state officials channeling most of the money to the county level. The state's move was based in part on the city failing to get passing scores for its grant applications, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The grants were awarded instead to the Public Health Department of Dayton and Montgomery County, with the stipulation that 90 percent goes to Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, state officials said.

Cincinnati was faulted for having no improvement plan to reduce STDs or way to determine the success of efforts, said Tessie Pollock, an Ohio Department of Health (ODH) spokesperson. The city's applications provided too little detail about target populations, little explanation of how case monitoring would improve, and no details on how a social media campaign would work, state reviewers said.

"It's gotten so bad in the last few years we had no choice but to find a new partner to address the problem," said William McHugh, ODH's division of prevention chief.

Cincinnati Health Commissioner Noble Maseru disputed the review and pledged to fight the decision, which McHugh said is final. The city's legal department is reviewing the denial.

"Our department is doing great work," said Maseru, who contends the state has refused to correct faulty scoring on the application. "The state has placed us in an extremely difficult situation." Cincinnati said it will use city funding to operate an STD treatment clinic; state officials said Friday they could not verify that. Hamilton County health workers will conduct follow-up work, including investigating STD outbreaks, partner notification, and educating people on how to protect themselves.

A report last year said Hamilton County ranked 12th nationally in the number of syphilis cases and third when accounting for population, the Enquirer said.