AAHIVM Calls for the Trump Administration to Change HIV Policy Direction to Better Address Access, Stigma and Prevention

AAHIVM Calls for the Trump Administration to Change HIV Policy Direction to Better Address Access, Stigma and Prevention

WASHINGTON, DC– The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM), the nation’s largest independent HIV care provider organization, congratulated the Trump Administration for shining a much-needed spotlight on the HIV epidemic during the President’s State of the Union speech, but advised that a change of policy direction will be needed in terms of healthcare access, stigma and prevention. In his remarks, President Trump called for an end to new infections in the U.S. within the next 10 years. AAHIVM shares in the President’s hope and encourages the Administration to adequately fund and strategically implement their proposed plan, taking into account those most marginalized throughout our country.

“We have made tremendous progress over the past 30 years thanks to aggressive federal, state and local initiatives and unprecedented scientific advances in HIV treatment and prevention,” stated AAHIVM Executive Director, Bruce J. Packett. “We have the prevention tools in our arsenal, and we know that HIV treatment itself is prevention, given that it not only improves health outcomes, but also removes transmission risks,” he continued. “We appreciate the fact that this Administration now has the opportunity to utilize the tools and education we have at our disposal in a smart and targeted way to effectively bring new infections in the country to zero.”

The HHS plan seeks to focus its resources on “hotspot” areas of the country with high concentrations of HIV infections. AAHIVM agrees with the strategy of quick diagnoses, ensuring those who test positive start therapy quickly, while also offering preventative measures such as pre-exposure prophylactic medicines (PrEP) to those most at risk of acquiring HIV.

However, there are many other elements to ensuring the success of this plan that involve areas in which the Administration has fallen short, such as the President’s interest in diminishing and even repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has allowed almost 20 million people to gain new access to health coverage within the first 4 years of its passage. The plan also needs to specifically address improvements in LGBTQ healthcare and equality, de-stigmatization, and better pathways to affordable care, including the expansion of Medicaid eligibility and the rejection of Medicaid restrictions, like work requirements.

Towards the end of 2018, the Administration announced a new proposed rule – Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage toLower Drug Prices and Reduce Out of Pocket Expenses – which effectively lifts the protection of HIV drugs in the Medicare formulary and potentially forces prescribers to navigate burdensome obstacles that will delay and possibly block patients’ access to some prescribed treatments.

“We need the Administration’s policies and actions to support their stated intentions,” stated Margaret Hoffman-Terry, MD, FACP, AAHIVS, chair of the AAHIVM Board of Directors. “Over 25% of those living with HIV rely on Medicare as their insurer. Removing protections for the medications that so many depend on for their day to day survival is not the path to eliminating HIV by 2030.”

AAHIVM recently launched a campaign to bring greater awareness to the importance of maintaining access to the medicines in Medicare’s protected classes. You can learn more and/or contact your Congressional representatives to voice your option by visiting www.ProtectHIVPatients.org.

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The American Academy of HIV Medicine is a professional organization that supports the HIV practitioners and promotes accessible, quality care for all Americans living with HIV disease. Our membership of HIV practitioners and credentialed providers give direct care to the majority of HIV patients in the US.