President’s Budget Provides Support for Ending the HIV Epidemic while Making Deep Cuts to Vital Safety-net Programs

By Kyle Taylor February 12, 2020

Cross-Posted from the Partnership to End HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis. Read the original here.

The Partnership to End HIV, STD, and Hepatitis, five of the nation’s leading organizations focused on ending the HIV, STD, and hepatitis epidemics in the United States – AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC, and The AIDS Institute – today issued the following statement in response to the President’s FY2021 budget proposal:

Washington, DC – The President’s FY2021 budget request increases support for the administration’s Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative – an initiative launched last year, committing the nation to reducing new HIV transmissions 90% by 2030 – while also proposing painful cuts and policies that could put the administration’s goals at risk.

The Partnership recognizes the proposed increase in funding for EHE activities – $716 million for 2021 –  as an important scale up of current funding. Coupled with continued HIV funding across HRSA and CDC, these dollars will support the communities that remain vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by this epidemic. However, our ability to end new HIV infections in this country hinges on our commitment to strengthening, not decimating, vital safety net programs and services. With STD rates at an all-time high and new cases of viral hepatitis on the rise, it is paramount that we respond to this crisis with the funding necessary to mount a public health response. Beyond the funding increase to the eliminating opioid-related infectious diseases program, the President’s failure to increase funding to respond to STDs and viral hepatitis is disappointing and harmful. Similarly, the proposed $427 million cut to vital CDC programs outside of infectious diseases will only serve to destabilize our public health infrastructure.

Proposed cuts to Medicaid, HOPWA, and Medicare (among other safety net programs) will also be devastating to people living with and at risk for HIV. Rolling back these vital safety net programs will have a disproportionate impact on communities prioritized in the EHE initiative, including low-income Black and Latinx populations, and will only deepen existing HIV disparities. And finally, the continued vitriolic anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that appear throughout the budget are not only an affront to the dignity of immigrants in this country, they are anathema to the goals of public health. 

The success of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America now rests on Congress, and we urge both parties to come together to ensure that the necessary resources are made available to achieve a 90% reduction in new HIV transmission by 2030 while also addressing the STD and viral hepatitis epidemics. We appreciate Congress’s support in last year’s appropriations process, and we look to them again to step up and enhance our nation’s public health response.