“President Biden’s budget is yet another demonstration of his leadership in ending HIV. He recognizes the historic role the federal government must play, and the investments needed to end infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C,” commented Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute. “Now, it is essential that Congress works together to ensure it maintains the federal government’s commitment to ending HIV and at the same time, invests the necessary resources to end hepatitis. We also must guard against any erosion in funding of these programs, as some have proposed,” continued Schmid.
FDA proposes to lift discriminatory blood donation ban for gay men
HIV+Hep’s Carl Schmid issued the following statement: “This marks a monumental shift and ends a long and painful era of blanket discrimination against gay men. No longer will eligibility to donate blood be based on sexual orientation. Instead, every person, no matter their sexuality, will be reviewed individually in order to determine their eligibility to donate. While this long-overdue change is being made based on the science and the facts, which have been clear for years, it is the result of the leadership of the Biden administration that continues to tear down discriminatory government policies.”
Congress lifts Ending HIV Epidemic initiative funding by $100 million
Congressional appropriators have released the final FY2023 appropriations bill and have increased funding for the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative by $100 million for a total of $613 million, according to the Appropriations Committee. While far short of the $330 million increase proposed in President Biden’s budget, it does provide increases to ramp up domestic HIV testing, prevention, and treatment programs in order to end HIV.
71 patient groups comment on how nondiscrimination in healthcare rule can improve prescription drug access
The HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute (HIV+Hep) and the Autoimmune Association, along with 69 other patient organizations, commented on how the Section 1557 nondiscrimination in healthcare proposed rule can be used to improve patient access to prescription drugs. In their comment letter, the patient groups expressed strong support for the “meaningful steps to improve upon current regulations to ensure that people are not discriminated against in healthcare. In several instances, you have proposed to restore protections that had been included in the past but later withdrawn. In other instances, you have provided further clarity on what constitutes discrimination. In any instance, we emphasize that the law and whatever is finalized in regulation must be strictly enforced.”
CDC data shows only one-third of people diagnosed with hepatitis C access treatment
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released disturbing data that shows that only one-third of people diagnosed with hepatitis C who have healthcare coverage are being treated with curative medications within one year of diagnosis. “Despite having health coverage and cost-effective drugs that can cure hepatitis C in as little as 8-12 weeks, our healthcare system is failing to provide the treatment people with hepatitis C need and is required to end this potentially deadly infectious disease,” commented Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute.