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HIV Challenge: Innovative Community Engagement Strategies to Reduce HIV-Related Stigma and Disparities

HIV Challenge

In partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP), the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is seeking innovative and effective approaches to improve pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication and antiretroviral therapy (ART) utilization among racial and ethnical minority individuals who are at increased risk for HIV infection or are people with HIV (PWH).

The Challenge provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations to participate in developing novel innovative approaches that can be successfully implemented within their local communities.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today, and an estimated 14 percent of them (1 in 7) do not know it and need testing. HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, age, or where they live. In the United States, racial and ethnic minority populations have higher rates of new HIV infections and HIV diagnoses, and lower rates of PrEP and ART awareness, initiation and adherence. HIV-related stigma is one of the factors that contributes to poor uptake of prevention tools and treatment. Despite the advancements in HIV prevention and treatment tools, not everyone is benefiting equally from these advances. New infections are highly concentrated among men who have sex with men; minorities, especially African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Increased knowledge and implementation of community engagement and mobilization strategies to support stigma reduction among racial and ethnic minority populations could result in increased initiation of and adherence to PrEP or ART to prevent new infections, reduce HIV transmission and incidence rates, and help PWH achieve and maintain viral load suppression.

About the HIV Challenge

The HIV Challenge is a partnership with OMH and OIDP to create a national competition to identify innovative and effective approaches to enhance community engagement and mobilization on the reduction of HIV stigma and disparities. Desired outcomes include improved utilization of PrEP and ART among racial and ethnic minority people at increased risk for or with HIV. Participants will have access to subject matter experts (SMEs) for group and individual coaching throughout the Challenge phases. This Challenge supports innovative and effective approaches for racial and ethnic minority populations that:

  • Identify types of stigma to be addressed (e.g., internalized, enacted, anticipated, ageism, racism)
  • Incorporate validated stigma measurement tools (e.g., HIV Stigma Scale, Everyday Discrimination Scale, Intersectional Discrimination Index, Multiple Discrimination Scale, Gendered Racism Scale)
  • Use community engagement and mobilization strategies
  • Increase knowledge and skills in reducing HIV stigma among community-based organizations serving racial and ethnic minorities
  • Evaluate scalability of developed approaches

Deadlines & Prizes

The HIV Challenge has three phases. All eligible submissions will be evaluated, and separate prizes will be awarded for each of the three phases.


Due to the overwhelming interest and submissions for the “HIV Challenge Award Competition,” we are delaying the announcement of Phase 1 winners until December 2021 and delay the start of Phase 2 until December 13, 2021.

  • Phase 1 — Design of Concept

    Participants will develop concepts for community engagement strategies to reduce stigma related to HIV prevention and treatment within a specific target population.

    • Submission Period: Monday, July 26, 2021 — Thursday, September 23, 2021 (Closes at 11:59 pm EST)
    • Registration Deadline: Friday, September 24, 2021
    • Webinar: Tentatively scheduled for Thursday, August 19, 2021, 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST
    • Prize: Up to 15 submissions maybe selected to each receive a prize of $20,000 award for each.
    • Winners Announced: December 2021
  • Phase 2 — Development of Approach

    Participants will create well-developed approaches for community engagement strategies to reduce stigma related to HIV prevention and treatment. To support this phase, OMH and OIDP will build a learning community with subject matter experts (SMEs) for competition participants. OMH, OIDP and SMEs will also provide individual and group sessions to support approach development (e.g., training on proposal writing, model development, customer/patient engagement, budgeting, project planning, partnership building, planning for testing within the community, assessment of information/data, implementation evaluation planning and measurement, and techniques/methods for communication and dissemination).

    • Submission Period: Monday, December 13, 2021 — Thursday, April 17, 2022 (Closes at 11:59 pm EST)
    • Prize: Up to 7 submissions may be selected to each receive a prize of $40,000 each. The participants selected to receive a prize for Phase 1 may compete for consideration to receive a prize in Phase 2.
    • Winners Announced: April 2022
  • Phase 3 — Refinement of Approach and Small-Scale Testing

    Test dissemination and uptake at a small scale/community level to demonstrate how well the approaches are accessed by the population of focus, including considerations of social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence access to treatment and care demonstrate the acceptability, usefulness, and feasibility of their approaches.

    • Submission Period: Monday, May 9, 2022 — Thursday, August 25, 2022 (Closes at 11:59 pm EST)
    • Prize: 3 submissions will be selected as the winners to receive a prize of $60,000. The participants selected to receive a prize in Phase 2 may compete for consideration to receive a prize in Phase 3.
    • Winner Announced: September 2022

How to Submit a Proposal

To view the Challenge submission requirements, judging criteria, competition rules, and to submit a proposal, visit — Reduce HIV Related Stigma.


If you have questions or want to learn more, please email .

12/7/2021 10:20:00 AM