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  • HIVMA Statement on House LHHS and State and Foreign Ops Funding Bills

    07/14/2017

    Statement of HIVMA Chair Wendy Armstrong, MD, FIDSA:

    In funding bills passed yesterday, members of two House subcommittees demonstrated that they understand the value of investments in biomedical research, prevention, and treatment that benefit the health of the public and of individuals with HIV in the United States and abroad. However, we are concerned that non-defense discretionary programs are bearing the brunt of budgetary caps and urge parity between defense and non-defense programs.

    While we await details on funding levels for some programs, HIVMA applauds the following funding recommendations put forward by the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Other Agencies subcommittee:

        •    A $1.1 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, including a $1 million increase for the Fogarty International Center, which was slated for elimination in the President’s Budget.

        •    Sustained funding for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s HIV, Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis, Global AIDS Program and other Center for Global Health programs at the Fiscal Year 2017 levels.

        •    Continuation of the policy allowing the use of federal funding to support syringe services.

    We also are pleased that funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program was not cut from the FY 2017 funding level, but are concerned that this year’s level is $4 million below that of 2016. At a time when drastic cuts are being considered for the Medicaid Program, which more than 40 percent of patients with HIV count on, ensuring sufficient funding to meet HIV care and treatment needs for uninsured and underinsured patients is critical.

    Unfortunately, our domestic and global HIV capacity would be seriously undermined by the following provisions also included in the bill, and we urge the full committee to reject these harmful proposals:

        •    cuts in funding to the Minority AIDS Initiative that supports programs and direct services that reduce HIV-related racial and ethnic disparities;

        •    the elimination of the Family Planning (Title X) program at the Health Resources and Services Administration that currently provides more than four million low income individuals with family planning and preventive services, including HIV and STD testing and treating, cancer screenings and well-women exams;

        •    the elimination of the Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program that funds programs to reduce teen pregnancy, HIV and STDs, and risky sexual behavior among adolescents;

        •    an increase of $5 million for the Family & Youth Services Bureau’s Competitive Abstinence-Only Education Program; and

        •    a decrease in funding of $306 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at a time when there’s an urgent need to expand access to substance use and mental health treatment to address the co-occurring epidemics of opioid abuse, HIV, and hepatitis C. 

    We are heartened that the House State and Foreign Operations subcommittee sustained funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Fully funding these programs, and ensuring continued expansion of treatment access is critical to averting preventable illnesses, new infections and deaths from HIV, and sustaining momentum toward ending HIV as a global health threat.

    Both the LHHS and SFO bills; however, threaten the success of efforts critical to domestic and global public health with severe cuts to, and in the case of the United Nations Population Fund complete elimination of, family planning and women’s health programs. Abandoning support for women’s health in the U.S. and abroad will have far reaching and long-term negative consequences for women and their families worldwide.

    We urge the House LHHS and SFO Committees to improve and advance these bills and the full House and then the Senate to follow suit to ensure that we maintain our ability to prevent and treat HIV and to sustain the possibility of ending the HIV epidemic domestically and globally.

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    The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) is the professional home for more than 5,000 physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. For more information, visit www.hivma.org.

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