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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
TENNESSEE: Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center's HIV Testing Program Suspended After State Funding Cut
Scott Carroll
February 14, 2012
Commercial Appeal (Memphis) (02.10.12) - Tuesday, February

A state funding cut to Planned Parenthood for HIV and syphilis prevention is causing a recipient agency, the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, to suspend its HIV screening services. In a statement, however, MGLCC vowed it will explore other revenue streams to resume and expand the testing program.

Planned Parenthood did not directly fund MGLCC, but provided medical equipment and personnel for the screenings and reported test results and statistics to the state. Without that $150,000 in support, HIV testing at the center is no longer financially possible.

Since 2008, when HIV testing began at MGLCC, more than 500 people have been screened in what was the only regularly scheduled, after-hours program of its kind in the Mid-South, according to the group. Joan Carr, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region director of community affairs, said the program was open to people of all backgrounds, not just members of the gay community.

The prevention grants were dropped by the state in December - four months after being approved. Planned Parenthood is suing the Tennessee Department of Health to regain the grants, maintaining that "political considerations" were a factor in the state's move, said Carr.