Academy Requests the Senate Preserve Critical HIV Funding
The Academy joined the larger HIV patient, provider and advocacy community in sending two separate letters to Senate appropriators requesting they preserve the House’s historic investments in HIV-related funding. The first letter, which can be viewed here, requests the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies increase the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) line item by $91.1 million for a total of $272.9 million. Academy members know that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, STD rates have skyrocketed. But, even over the past six years, we have seen record-breaking increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Without this additional funding, providers are unlikely to be able to adequately address the crisis.
In the second letter, which can be viewed here, we similarly request that the appropriators fund CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at $100 million. Health risk behaviors and experiences related to sexual behavior, high-risk substance use, violence and poor mental health contribute to substantial health problems for adolescents, including suicide. Interventions at this developmental stage can result in positive outcomes in adulthood. Additionally, DASH is the only federally funded HIV and STI prevention-focused program for adolescents in our nation’s schools working to directly address these health risk behaviors. This high-quality program has contributed to reductions in behaviors that put young people at increased risk for unintended pregnancy, HIV and other STIs, which is why funding is so critical.
The Senate appropriators continue to work on the chamber’s version of the budget, though the next steps will most likely not go through regular procedural order. The House has already passed its budget. Attention has now shifted toward passing a continuing resolution through both chambers that includes an agreement about the debt ceiling, as well as a traditional infrastructure package, and a ‘human infrastructure’ package to be passed through the reconciliation process. Because of these truly unprecedented investments, the Senate has been said to be “pre-conferencing” with the House to work out any budgetary disagreements ahead of time, and will likely not pass a full budget until December.