New CDC HIV data demonstrates importance of federal funding
Some Positive Decline in New Cases, But Huge Disparities Persist in PrEP Uptake
Washington DC… CDC data released today shows that overall, the nation is on the right trajectory in decreasing the number of new HIV diagnoses with a marked decrease in new cases among young people. At the same time, while usage of PrEP, which are drugs that prevent HIV, significantly increased, it mostly benefited Whites, while the wide disparities in uptake for Blacks, Latinos, and women persisted.
The new CDC report indicates that there are over 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. with 32,100 new diagnoses in 2021. While the number of new cases dropped 12 percent over the past 5 years, among those aged 13-24 it dropped 34 percent, largely driven by a decrease among gay and bisexual young men.
The uptake of PrEP among those who are believed to be eligible for it increased from 13 percent in 2017 to 30 percent in 2021. However, it was mainly driven by Whites, where uptake stands at 78 percent of those who are eligible while for Blacks it is only 11 percent, Latinos 20.5 percent, and women 12.3 percent.
“It appears that our investments in HIV prevention are providing some positive results, but the persistent high number of new diagnoses and the low usage of PrEP among the communities most impacted by HIV point to the need for increased resources, particularly for a national PrEP program,” commented Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute. “Both Presidents Trump and Biden have put forth initiatives to end HIV with calls for increased funding for testing, treatment, and prevention, including for PrEP. However, it is necessary for Congress to commit to the investments as well. While there have been some increases, they have not been at the level needed to put the U.S. on a path to end HIV. This will result in new infections, more people living with HIV, and the need to provide lifetime care and treatment.”
President Biden’s FY2024 budget proposal includes an increase of $277 million for a total of $850 million to accelerate efforts to end HIV by 2030. Some in Congress are calling for extreme cuts to federal government spending which could jeopardize current domestic HIV spending and in turn increase the number of HIV infections.
In order to increase PrEP uptake the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute and others in the HIV community have called for a national PrEP program. Last year, HIV+Hep modelled the federal funding needed to increase PrEP for all uninsured populations and found $521 million would be needed in year one and much more in future years. Much of the resources would be dedicated to expanding the number of grantees conducting PrEP along with community and provider outreach.
President Biden has also proposed a ten-year $9.7 billion national PrEP Program.
Congress can take steps this year by increasing funding to Community Health Centers and the CDC for PrEP activities.
At the same time, HIV+Hep calls on the Biden administration to ensure that the CDC and its state grantees are being held accountable and directing a greater portion of their existing resources to PrEP services and outreach, particularly in the communities not benefiting from it.
The CDC data released today also shows that 87 percent of the people living with HIV are aware of their HIV status, 66 percent receive medical care, and only 58 percent are virally suppressed. In order to end HIV by 2030 the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal is 95 percent viral suppression among those who are diagnosed.
This points to the importance of funding ongoing HIV testing and prevention programs at the CDC along with the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which provides care and treatment to over 560,000 low-income people living with HIV.
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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.