Senate Appropriations Committee Proposes Increases to Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative Funding, But No COVID Relief Funding
The Senate Committee on Appropriations released all 12 of its fiscal year 2021 funding bills on Nov. 10. The bills fail to include much needed funding to strengthen the response to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic but propose important investments in the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative and the National Institutes of Health.
The Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill includes a $207 million increase for the second year of the EHE initiative, which aims to reduce new HIV infections by 90% before 2030. This funding is critical to sustain the work underway to meet the initiative’s ambitious goals.
In comparison to FY2020 enacted levels, the bill allocates funding for the EHE initiative that includes:
- An increase of $87 million for community health centers to increase outreach, testing, care coordination and HIV prevention services, including the use of PrEP;
- An increase of $50 million for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to provide primary health care, medications and support services for individuals with HIV in the EHE jurisdictions;
- An increase of $60 million for targeted HIV prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the EHE jurisdictions;
- An increase of $10 million for the National Institutes of Health’s Centers for AIDS Research.
The bill also includes a $2 billion or 4.8% overall increase for the National Institutes of Health and a $5 million increase for CDC to address increases in infectious diseases associated with the opioid epidemic.
CDC’s STD prevention, viral hepatitis and HIV prevention programs (outside of the EHE jurisdictions) would be level-funded under the proposal despite alarming increases in sexually transmitted infections and in hepatitis C cases. In addition, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program would see no increases outside of EHE initiative funding.
As Senate and House leadership negotiate a final funding package before Dec. 11, HIVMA urges them to work together to address the urgent need for additional COVID-19 relief funding in addition to investing in the EHE initiative and other HIV and public health programs at the highest possible levels. We cannot let the harms of the COVID-19 pandemic be exacerbated by allowing the HIV and other infectious epidemics to worsen.