May 26, 2021
The Academy joined over 100 organizations in supporting the introduction of the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act (REAHYA), legislation that invests in sexual health education and access – including about HIV – particularly for those most impacted by historic barriers. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Alma Adams (D-NC) sponsored legislation that would offer the first federal grants for comprehensive sex education programs in the U.S. and end investments in harmful abstinence-only programs. Not only would grantees be required to promote gender equity and offer inclusive programming, but the education must be evidence-informed, medically accurate, and culturally responsive. Currently, there are 15 states that include instruction on HIV or sexually transmitted infections but do not require the content meet any of those criteria.
The Academy also joined partner organizations in submitting comments on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Proposed Rule for Ensuring Access to Equitable, Affordable, Client-Centered, Quality Family Planning Services. In 2019, the Trump administration banned healthcare providers with even a loose affiliation to abortion care or referral from participating in the Title X program – and this proposed rule proposes to reverse that ban and make other changes. By blocking providers like Planned Parenthood from the program, communities that rely on such providers for essential family-planning services and also much of their primary care were most negatively impacted. Those with low incomes, those without insurance, or those who are far away from other healthcare providers were forced to do without care, including HIV prevention services. Such a policy would make it impossible to end the HIV epidemic. The comments also recommend a number of positive additions, all of which can be viewed here and in the proposed rule.
View the latest Policy Update here.