Oppose domestic HIV programs cuts of $767 million & proposed amendments
RE: Oppose Domestic HIV Programs Cuts of $767 million & Proposed Amendments
Dear Members of the House of Representatives:
The HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute urges you to oppose the FY24 Labor HHS Appropriations Bill (HR 5894) due to the $767 million in cuts to HIV domestic prevention and treatment programs, massive cuts to other related programs, and the many damaging social policy riders that are directed to the communities most impacted by HIV.
Additionally, we urge you to vote “No” on the following amendments:
#55. Good (VA) #124 (REVISED) Transfers $28 million allocated for Minority AIDS prevention to the Spending Reduction Account. The underlying bill already cuts $32 million from this program housed in the Assistant Secretary of Health’s office; this amendment would eliminate all funding for the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund. 75% of people diagnosed with HIV in the United States are non-White. This office funds all the HIV activities of the Indian Health Service; acts as the coordinating office for the multi-agency Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative; develops and implements each of the national strategies to end HIV, hepatitis, and STIs; and keeps track of each state and agency’s progress in meeting their goals and benchmarks. Additionally, the funds are used to address the syndemics of HIV, including hepatitis and STI prevention programs, and the hiv.gov website—all to improve existing health disparities.
#26. Brecheen (OK) #237. Reduces funding for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to FY16 levels. Reducing funding to FY16 levels would translate into a 28% cut. HIV research accounts for 29% of NIAID’s budget, which is used to develop new medications, prevention tools and hopefully a vaccine and an eventual cure. NIH HIV research not only benefits the United States, but the entire world. Globally, there are 39 million people living with HIV and 1.3 million new infections each year with 630,000 AIDS-related deaths. Additionally, HIV research has been instrumental to the quick response to other infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and mpox.
There are many other cruel amendments that we also ask you to oppose, including lowering HHS leadership salaries and eliminating worthy health programs.
These amendments would make an already bad bill worse. The underlying bill already cuts the entire Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative begun by the Trump administration. Through the combination of enhanced prevention and treatment programs, HIV cases are going down and saving the health care system billions of dollars. Between 2019 and 2021, HIV incidence decreased by 7.8%.
Through the additional Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative funding:
- The Ryan White Care and Treatment program has brought nearly 38,000 people into care for the first time or reengaged into HIV care.
- CDC has distributed 140,000 free HIV self-test kits, 600,000 other HIV tests and diagnosed 8,500 people.
- HRSA’s Community Health Centers have provided PrEP to 85,000 people at 411 health centers in 29 states.
This progress would be erased since the bill eliminates all funding for this initiative. Additionally, it eliminates SAMHA’s Minority AIDS programs, three parts of the Ryan White Program, a large part of the HHS Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, and many other related programs.
Due to these massive cuts and the many policy riders, we urge you vote “NO” on this bill and instead pass a bill that is in more in line with the budget agreement as done by the U.S. Senate.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out via phone at (202) 462-3042 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carl E. Schmid II