New Funding Budget Cuts HIV Programs


A congressional subcommittee aims at reducing HIV-related budget items by over half a billion dollars.

Yesterday, the House Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee released its proposed FY2024 spending bill that would eliminate all $220 million in funding for CDC's Ending the HIV Epidemic in the US(EHE) initiative and another $220 million out of $322 million currently allocated to HRSA. In addition, $74 million would be cut from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and $32 million from the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, a cut of over 50 percent. Countless other programs that impact HIV prevention would be eliminated while the bill is weighed down by mean-spirited socially conservative policy riders that impact the people most impacted by HIV.

EHE was created by the Trump administration and has been continued by President Biden. It is a concerted effort to promote prevention and treatment, including PrEP, initially in the 57 jurisdictions in the US that have the highest concentration of HIV.

The CDC reports that it has resulted in the distribution of 140,000 self-HIV test kits, 600,000 other HIV tests, and more than 44,000 PrEP prescriptions. HRSA reports that over 22,000 people have been engaged or reengaged into care and over 52,000 people have received PrEP in EHE funded community health centers.

"While we appreciate the sustained funding for many domestic HIV and hepatitis programs, we are devastated by the proposal to virtually eliminate the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative," said Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute. "We were on a trajectory to end HIV by ensuring all people have access to care and treatment, and prevent new infections through increasing access to PrEP, but now all those efforts will be lost. This bill cannot stand as is."

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Congress has decided to reduce the funding for these programs that was requested. Schmid was interviewed by Contagion last on this issue.

“These spending cuts, along with the bill's policy riders, including those that allow discrimination against LGBT individuals, can never become law,” Schmid said.

“Furthermore, policy riders that focus on eliminating sexual and reproductive health care and initiatives that promote racial equity and support for under-served communities will reverse our efforts to address HIV. We look forward to working with the entire Congress, including the US Senate, on a spending bill that continues efforts to end HIV and hepatitis that can pass and become law.”

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