House Supports Significant Funding Increases for Domestic HIV Programs: Minimal Increase for Hepatitis Programs
Washington DC… The US House of Representatives is proposing to significantly increase funding to continue to ramp up efforts to end HIV in the United States. In addition to an increase of $245 million for domestic HIV testing, prevention, and treatment programs as part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, which matches the amount proposed in President Joe Biden’s budget, the Appropriations Committee in its FY22 Labor, HHS appropriations bill is proposing an $146 million increase to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, (+$100 million over Biden’s budget) and $190 million more for NIH AIDS Research that was not included in the president’s budget.
The House is only including an increase of $5 million for CDC’s hepatitis division for a total of $44.5 million.
Separately, the House Transportation/HUD FY2022 funding bill contains an increase in HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program by $170 million for a total of $600 million. This equals the HIV community ask and is $150 million more than President Biden requested.
To date, the House Appropriations Committee has proposed increases of almost $850 million for domestic HIV programs in FY2022 across three bills.
“We deeply thank Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro and the entire subcommittee, including HIV/AIDS Caucus Co-chair Barbara Lee, for demonstrating their steadfast commitment to ending HIV in the United States,” commented Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute. “In many aspects the House bill exceeds the budget increases proposed by President Biden. If this funding is realized it will continue the momentum already created and make further progress in ending HIV in the U.S. Efforts to end HIV will help eradicate an infectious disease that we have been battling for the last 40 years and help correct racial and health inequities in our nation.”
For the Ending the HIV Epidemic program, the House matches Biden’s budget, which includes an $100 million increase for CDC’s HIV prevention efforts; $85 million more for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program; and $50 million more for the Community Health Centers to focus on PrEP and $10 million for NIH AIDS Research. Additionally, in a separate bill already passed by the Appropriations Committee, $22 million more was proposed for HIV and hepatitis prevention activities within the Indian Health Service. All total, the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative increase would equal $267 million for a total of nearly $700 million.
The House Labor HHS bill also includes a $3 million increase for the Minority AIDS Initiative which was not included in the president’s budget. It removes the federal funding ban on the purchase of sterile syringes and includes an increase of $56.5 million for the CDC’s Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases program, which will be beneficial to preventing new cases of both HIV and hepatitis.
The House funding level for hepatitis falls well short of the community’s request of $134 million for the CDC Hepatitis Division. Recently, the CDC reported that the number of acute hepatitis C cases increased 70 percent from 2015 through 2019. Elimination of hepatitis can be made possible through scaling up curative medications for hepatitis C and vaccines for hepatitis A and B.
“If we are to implement the national strategic plan to eliminate hepatitis and do it by 2030, as the president supports, we are going to need a significant commitment of resources and the leadership to make it happen,” continued Schmid. “Unfortunately, that is not going to happen with this low level of funding.”
Hepatitis funding increases are needed to carry out surveillance, screening, education, linkage to care, and outbreak response programs throughout the country, particularly as a result of the ongoing opioid crisis.
No funding would be allocated for abstinence-only programs, while there would be an $113 million increase for Title X family planning programs and a $29 million increase for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.
HIV+Hep looks forward to quick passage of the House appropriation measures and hopes that the Senate will match these HIV increases and will demonstrate a deeper commitment to hepatitis programs so that progress can be made to end these infectious diseases.
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The HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute is a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote quality and affordable healthcare for people living with or at risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other serious and chronic health conditions.