Senate Appropriations leadership proposes significant increases for domestic HIV programs
CDC Hepatitis Program Receives Support
Washington DC… The leadership of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing to significantly increase funding to continue to ramp up efforts to end HIV in the United States. The Senate bills include increased funding for the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative by at least $240 million for domestic HIV testing, prevention, treatment, and research programs. While it is not as much as proposed in President Biden’s budget, in some instances it is more than what was proposed by the House.
Funding for the CDC’s hepatitis division would be $54.5 million, an increase of $13.5 million, which was proposed by the president and supported by the House.
For the Ending the HIV Epidemic program, the Senate includes a $55 million increase for the CDC’s HIV prevention efforts (compared to the president’s request of a $115 million increase and $50 million by the House); $135 million more for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (the president’s budget proposal was a $165 million increase while the House proposed $125 million); and $50 million more for the Community Health Centers to focus on PrEP (which is equal to the president’s budget request and the House proposal). While the president proposed an increase of $330 million for these three programs, the Senate is proposing an increase of $240 million for a total of $682 million (compared to the House total of $667 million).
Additionally, the Interior Appropriations bill includes funding for HIV and hepatitis C prevention activities for the Indian Health Service. While the actual level is not detailed, both President Biden and the House supported $52 million for these programs, an increase of $47 million.
“We sincerely thank Senate Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Patty Murray and her colleagues for demonstrating their continued commitment to ending HIV in the United States. The proposed increases will certainly help bring the US back on track to ending HIV,” commented Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute. “However, we still need a national program to increase access to PrEP, which are medications that prevent HIV. We look forward to working with Congress to dedicate funding to expand PrEP as part of this funding bill. If we are serious about ending HIV, we need a PrEP program now.”
Creating a national PrEP program has been a priority of President Biden, many members of Congress, and the HIV community, who are advocating for a $400 million initiative at the CDC to ramp up PrEP. President Biden has proposed a ten-year $9.8 billion mandatory spending national PrEP program. Such a program is particularly necessary for those communities who have not taken full advantage of the highly effective HIV prevention drugs, including Black and Latino gay men and Black women. Even with the availability of low-cost generic and free daily oral PrEP drugs, uptake has been low due to the lack of community and provider outreach, lab and other medical costs, along with stigma.
For HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, the Senate is proposing an increase of $18 million, which is far less the $170 million increase proposed by the House.
The Senate Chair’s Labor HHS bill also includes a $3 million increase for the Minority AIDS Initiative, which is the same level as proposed by the House. It removes the federal funding ban on the purchase of sterile syringes and includes an increase of $25 million for the CDC’s Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases program, which will be beneficial to preventing new cases of both HIV and hepatitis.
No funding would be allocated for abstinence-only programs, while there would be a $6 million increase to the CDC’s HIV School Health program, $225 million increase for Title X family planning programs and a $29 million increase for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.
HIV+Hep urges the Congressional leadership to quickly agree upon topline spending levels for fiscal year 2023 so that the House and the Senate can begin negotiations and finalize the spending bills this year. While we are pleased that both the House and Senate broadly support the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, there are additional increases proposed by the House for domestic HIV programs that we urge the Senate to support. Finally, the Congress must support efforts to address the disparities in PrEP access across the country.
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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.