Despite the Republican-led success against HIV, some House Republicans have been considering a spending bill that would cut funding for HIV prevention and treatment. Such cuts would not only lead to more preventable infections and deaths — they’d result in more long-term spending by American taxpayers. We have the tools to end HIV. We must not abandon our efforts nor the people and communities most impacted by this potentially deadly infectious disease.
It is possible to end HIV in the United States within the next decade – lawmakers must make it a reality
We believe congressional authorization for a new government program is unlikely in the near term, given the program’s price tag and its reliance on a centralized mechanism for purchasing drugs and laboratory services.
A more realistic approach, given these constraints, is for Congress to increase funding at the CDC along with targeted grants to community health centers and Ryan White Program clinics, particularly those that can most effectively increase PrEP uptake among Blacks and Latinos and in the South. It’s possible to end HIV in the United States within the next decade. Lawmakers must act to make it a reality.
Over the next few months, congressional appropriation committee leaders will have to hash out spending levels for individual government programs. President Joe Biden’s budget takes an enormous step toward meeting the nation’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 through substantially increasing funding for HIV treatment and prevention programs. Some in Congress seem set on slashing spending. And that means domestic HIV funding could be on the chopping block. That’s a tragedy—one that could jeopardize our progress in the fight against the virus.
Imagine if Congress, with one simple action, could help end a 40-year-old epidemic, erase some of the racial inequities in healthcare, and save money in the process. That may sound too good to be true. But lawmakers can do it if they fund expanding access programs to a highly effective HIV drug in the 2023 spending bill.
As the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies considers this week what programs to fund in the 2023 budget, many public health concerns will demand their attention. One funding decision that would aim to end HIV — and that goal can be achieved — would also provide long-term benefits for the entire health care system. HIV continues to infect thousands of Americans each year, many of them gay men, even though an effective prevention tool known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is available. PrEP, which lowers the risk of contracting HIV by 99%, was first approved by the FDA in 2012 as a daily pill and is now available in a superior form as an every-other-month injection.