Ending the HIV Epidemic Newsletter

By Mike Weir August 30, 2021

August 2021 EHE Newsletter

NASTAD, with collaboration from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), distributes a monthly newsletter to Phase 1 Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) jurisdictions. The newsletter informs recipients of EHE related policy updates, communications from federal partners, success stories, and other related EHE information. As the CDC PS19-1906 National Partner and HRSA-20-089 Systems Coordinator Provider recipients, NASTAD also launched an EHE website to house programmatic updates, share strategies and outcomes from Phase 1 jurisdictions, and connect health departments with community. For questions, comments, or content contributions, please contact Mike Weir.

Hill Happenings

FY2022 Appropriations 

Senate Democrats are working to quickly advance Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) spending bills in the upper chamber ahead of a September 30 fiscal deadline.  After the full Senate approved the bipartisan INVEST in America Act (H.R.3684) on August 10, Democrats are now prioritizing the FY2022 spending bills, where they plan to leverage the budget reconciliation process to pass policy priorities without Republican support, including health spending priorities such as lowering drug pricing and extending ACA subsidies authorized by the COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan. 

On August 11, Senators approved a $3.5 trillion budget resolution for FY2022. The budget resolution sets fiscal parameters for the upper chamber’s spending bills and directs committees to begin drafting legislative text. Once the upper chamber’s spending bills are approved, the House will take up consideration of the infrastructure package and finalize the consolidated FY2022 spending bill and the infrastructure package in tandem.  

Although Senate appropriators are starting to move forward spending bills, many lawmakers expect that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to extend federal funding and avoid a fiscal cliff until the FY2022 spending bills are finalized. NASTAD will continue to monitor the FY2022 appropriations process to advocate for the highest funding levels on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs.

Administration Updates

HRSA Launches Ending Stigma through Collaboration and Lifting All to Empowerment (ESCALATE) Program 

On July 29, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the launch of the Ending Stigma through Collaboration and Lifting All to Empowerment (ESCALATE) program. ESCALATE was designed with the goal of reducing stigma for people with HIV on multiple levels throughout the health care delivery system, including on the individual client, organization, and system levels. The program also focuses on implementing various stigma-reducing approaches with an emphasis on increasing cultural humility in care and treatment settings for people with HIV within the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP). ESCALATE features trainings, time-limited TA for RWHAP recipients/subrecipients, and two learning collaboratives to reduce stigma and improve health outcomes based on the concepts of cultural humility and stigma reduction. Applications are open until Friday, September 3rd

HHS Posts EHE July Quarterly Stakeholder Webinar Presentation & Recording 

The July EHE Quarterly Stakeholder Webinar featured federal and community leaders presenting best practices to improve the scale-up and use of harm reduction models including, Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) as a prevention tool to ending the HIV epidemic. To learn more about the impact of SSPs and harm reduction methods to end the HIV epidemic, view the recording playback  and presentation slides from the EHE July Quarterly Stakeholder webinar. Additional high-level updates and efforts from federal agencies to improve SSPs are available here

CDC Releases Grant Funding Profiles Tool 

On August 6, CDC released the Grant Funding Profiles webpage, an interactive tool that provides data and summaries of CDC cooperative agreement and grant funding to recipients in U.S. states and territories, and the District of Columbia, starting with fiscal year (FY) 2010. The data is compiled in a format that allows users to view, sort, and analyze funding data by funding opportunity announcement, funding source (CDC funding category and sub-category), geography, and recipient name and type. 

CDC Publishes New Data from Medical Monitoring Project 

On August 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published data from the 2019 cycle (June 2019–May 2020) of the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP). The MMP is an annual, cross-sectional complex sample survey that reports nationally representative estimates of behavioral and clinical characteristics of adults with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States. The latest report shows that, among adults with diagnosed HIV, an estimated 98% had health insurance or coverage for care or medications; 46% had coverage through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, 45% had Medicaid, 28% had Medicare, and 34% had private health insurance (not mutually exclusive categories).  

CDC Recommends Additional Dose of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine in Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People 

On August 13, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the use of an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems after an initial two-dose vaccine series. CDC now recommends that people who are immunocompromised, including people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, receive an additional dose at least four weeks after completing the primary COVID-19 vaccine series. The CDC recommendation was issued after the Food and Drug Administration updated the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals on August 12.

New Members Join Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS 

On August 4, during the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) virtual meeting, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine swore in eight new PACHA members, including incoming PACHA co-chair, Marlene McNeese. PACHA provides advice, information, and recommendations to the HHS Secretary regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective prevention, treatment, and cure of HIV disease and AIDS. This includes recommendations to the Secretary regarding the development and implementation of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative and the HIV National Strategic Plan. 

AHEAD Dashboard Office Hours 

The Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) is offering one-on-one technical assistance and training for America’s HIV Epidemic Analysis Dashboard (AHEAD). The new AHEAD Office Hours will help educate users on using the Dashboard effectively and to support them as they use the data to help make planning decisions and incorporate the data in their own work. This new service is free and available to local and state health officials, community planners, public health experts, researchers, policy makers, HIV service providers, and community stakeholders.  

Sessions, which require registration, are 60 minutes long and conducted by videoconference. 

Resources

Systems Coordination Provider Project Updates 

NASTAD Systems Coordination Provider (SCP) staff continue to participate in HRSA Ending the HIV Epidemic Programmatic Site Reviews through February 2022. NASTAD SCP staff attended five visits in August. The site visits serve as an opportunity for the SCP and CAI, the Technical Assistance Provider (TAP), to provide an overview of the SCP and TAP-in projects and hear directly from jurisdictions about their EHE program and activities. NASTAD’s Engagement Advisory Council continues to meet to provide feedback to the NASTAD SCP and CDC EHE teams through monthly calls and ongoing communication. The next small group meeting in September will focus on the HIV Workforce.   

Presentation recordings and materials from NASTAD’s EHE TA Meeting are now available on the Crowd Compass platform. If you have any questions around accessing recordings, please contact Krupa Mehta and Jennifer Flannagan. Thank you for participating in the meeting!  

NASTAD Drug User Health Policy Map 

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new resource, the Drug User Health Policy Map, developed by NASTAD’s Drug User Health and Health Systems Integration Teams. This resource was created to help provide a better understanding of laws and policies in your state that impact people who use drugs. The interactive map provides information about each state as it relates to laws criminalizing HIV and hepatitis exposure through the use of drug paraphernalia; unique requirements of your jurisdiction’s 911 Good Samaritan Laws related to overdose response; and details of state-level Section 1115 Medicaid waivers that expand services for people who use drugs.     

NASTAD Resource: Materials for Syringe Services Programs: A Guide for Staff & Volunteers. 

The Materials for Syringe Services Programs: A Guide for Staff & Volunteers learning tool consists of a Training Module Webinar, a Presenter’s Guide, and PowerPoint slide deck that syringe services programs and health departments can customize for their in-house staff trainings. Other materials, such as a customizable informational flyer, are forthcoming. This project was designed for use by health department and community-based syringe services programs (SSPs) and their staff to provide an overview of materials typically available at an SSP, discuss alternative materials for safer injection when needed, and improve communication about the use and utility of safer injection supplies.

Request for Proposals: Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Strategic Planning Consultant 

NACCHO is seeking a consultant to provide subject matter expertise, technical assistance, and strategic planning support to one EHE jurisdiction and create materials to support widespread scaling of model practices to other jurisdictions around the country. Up to $20,000 is available to the selected applicant(s). The consultant should have subject matter expertise in strategic planning, HIV care or prevention, health systems, and local health department infrastructure and systems. Access the Request for Proposals here. Applications must be submitted electronically by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday September 7, 2021. For questions about this opportunity, please reach out to ehe@naccho.org

CAI Webinar Announcement: At the Intersection of SUD, HIV, and Covid-19: Why Trauma Informed Care Matters 

Date & Time: Thursday, September 9, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET 

  • CAI will host a webinar titled At the Intersection of SUD, HIV, and Covid-19: Why Trauma Informed Care Matters on Thursday, September 9, 2021, from 1:00 PM- 2:00 PM ET. In this on-line TA event, participants will learn about an implementation model utilized by organizations to integrate trauma informed care into their culture and existing services. To register for this webinar and view additional details, please visit: TAP-in September 9th Webinar Registration Link 

TakeMeHome Program Expands to Offer STD Test Kits  

NASTAD continues to partner with Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC) on a free HIV and STD test kit home delivery program, TakeMeHome. BHOC and NASTAD created a seamless process to handle payment from health jurisdictions, which will be promoted by Grindr to users who live in city or states included in the program. For more information about the program, contact Natalie Cramer or Kendrell Taylor

Ending the HIV Epidemic Jurisdictional Directory 

NASTAD maintains an Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Jurisdictional Directory. Health department staff members are encouraged to update their jurisdiction’s information using this brief form.    

Jurisdictional Map of Phase 1 EHE Final Plans    

NASTAD released a resource that provides access to Phase 1 EHE websites and plans. Please email Krupa Mehta additional Phase 1 EHE plans for inclusion in this resource as well as any changes to existing plans. 

News

NIH Makes Substantial New Investment of Over $265M in HIV Cure Research 

“The National Institutes of Health has awarded approximately $53 million in annual funding over the next five years to 10 research organizations in a continued effort to find a cure for HIV. The new awards for the Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure Research program further expand the initiative’s 2016 renewal from six institutions to 10, and represent a funding increase of approximately 75 percent. Additionally, one of the new grants is focused specifically on HIV cure research in infants and children.” 

The Pandemic Is Bringing Us Closer to the First HIV Vaccine 

“Moderna will soon begin the first-ever human clinical trials for a messenger RNA-based HIV vaccine, utilizing the same technology as its COVID vaccine. The trials could potentially begin as soon as this week, though they have not started recruiting as of publication time. Moderna will recruit 56 HIV-negative adults to enroll in Phase I. It will be testing two mRNA-based vaccines. Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID vaccines are mRNA-based, while Johnson & Johnson’s is not.” 

CDC formally recommends third vaccine dose for immunocompromised people 

“The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off Friday evening on recommending a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for some people with weakened immune systems… The FDA amended the emergency use authorizations for the two mRNA shots late Thursday to allow an additional dose for solid-organ transplant recipients ‘or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.’”  

CDC calls for more syringe access in West Virginia county hit by HIV 

“People who inject drugs in West Virginia’s largest county should have expanded access to sterile syringes, testing and treatment in response to one of the nation’s highest spikes of HIV cases, according to federal and state recommendations released Tuesday. The report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state Department of Health and Human Resources and Kanawha County’s health department comes amid a new state law that tightens requirements for needle exchange programs.”