President's Plan to End New HIV Infections Must Leverage Evidence-Based Approaches to End the Epidemic

By Kyle Taylor February 6, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2019

CONTACT: Kyle Taylor
Associate Director, Communications, NASTAD
ktaylor@NASTAD.org | 202-897-0029

President's Plan to End New HIV Infections Must Leverage Evidence-Based Approaches to End the Epidemic
Structural policies must align with our best science and the Administration must recognize the need to prioritize the health and safety of the communities that continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV

WASHINGTON, DC – President Donald Trump committed his Administration to ending new HIV infections in the United States by 2030 in his State of the Union address on February 5, 2019.

It is enormous for any President to lay out ending new HIV infections as a policy priority in the State of the Union. This is an opportunity to leverage approaches to ending the HIV epidemic that science tells us are effective. We look forward to seeing the President’s budget in a few weeks that will provide more details, and we are ready to work with HHS agencies to implement this initiative. NASTAD—as part of a coalition of five of the nation’s leading organizations focused on ending the HIV, STD, and viral hepatitis epidemics in the United States—has already met with Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC; Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health; Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID; and others within the Administration to discuss strategies to end the epidemic.

Over the last few years, communities have been developing and prioritizing Ending the Epidemics (ETE) plans. Stakeholders have been working to focus on evidence-based strategies, such as the role of treatment as prevention and undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), to help us curb new infections and reduce HIV stigma. These ETE plans can serve as the foundation of this initiative.

At the same time, we have to acknowledge the importance of sound policy, which must work in concert with our best approaches. The Administration must examine and rescind harmful policies that remain incongruent with ETE efforts. Policies and positions that contribute to stigma and discrimination against LGBT people, immigrants and those seeking asylum, and populations with higher risk of acquiring HIV such as young gay men of color are counter to the goal of ending new HIV infections by 2030. Similarly, we will not end the epidemic without ensuring that people living with and at high risk for HIV have access to Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance.

We have the data to support our understanding of who we need to prioritize to end the HIV epidemic. Human rights policies must line up with our best science and the Administration must recognize the need to prioritize the health and safety of the communities that continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV. In addition, the Administration will need to evaluate how policies it has pursued have contributed to the immense barriers to successful treatment and care that many communities face—barriers that include inadequate health systems, poverty, unstable housing, racism, gender inequality, denial, drug-use policies, stigma, discrimination, and HIV criminalization.

The President has stated his desire to end new HIV infections in the U.S. by 2030. This is an ambitious goal, but we have the tools and knowledge to achieve success. State, territorial, and local health departments will play a vital role in this effort, and support for them must be included in the Administration's plan. NASTAD now looks to his budget and to Congress to provide the necessary resources the HIV community needs to make this a reality.

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About NASTAD

Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a leading non-partisan non-profit association that represents public health officials who administer HIV and hepatitis programs in the U.S. and around the world. Our singular mission is to end the intersecting epidemics of HIV, viral hepatitis, and related conditions. We do this work by strengthening domestic and global governmental public health through advocacy, capacity building, and social justice.