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President’s 2018 Budget Threatens Access to Care and Quality of Life for People Living With HIV

On Tuesday May 23rd, President Trump’s first full budget request served as a disturbing reminder of the President’s true priorities: cutting taxes for the rich and bolstering war spending on the backs of low-income and underserved people. The budget also exemplifies the President’s lack of consistency and vision, with cuts to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program that contradict his skinny budget’s assertion that HHS would, “fund the highest priorities, such as health services through community health centers and Ryan White HIV/AIDS providers...”  On the other hand, the President backed off cuts he has proposed, leaving the bipartisan supported Office of National Drug Control Policy largely intact with near level funding at $370 million, after initially calling for a 95 percent cut.  AIDS United released the below statement in reaction to the President’s first budget, calling attention to a few of the devastating cuts to health access for people living with HIV. 


AIDS United’s Statement on President Trump’s Budget for FY 2018

AIDS United is shocked by President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request released today. It threatens to roll back the progress in the fight against the domestic HIV epidemic. Now more than ever we must maintain and strengthen our progress towards our national goals and priorities of reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. 

The deep proposed cuts to domestic HIV and STD prevention cannot be reconciled with the goal of preventing new HIV transmissions and the rising rates of STDs. The proposed $59 million cut to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, coupled with a fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid program capping federal spending for the first time to the tune of a $610 million funding reduction over the next decade, diminishes every community’s ability to deliver quality health care to people living with HIV by eliminating AIDS Education and Training Centers and Special Programs of National Significance (SPNS). 

“AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs) are essential to the HIV care continuum and the success of the national goals and priorities to end the epidemic,” said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. “AETCs assure that providers know and apply the best standards of care for people living with and at risk for HIV.” 

Further, AIDS United is particularly concerned that the President’s budget eliminates SPNS and reduces funding for Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) programs. SPNS and MAI programs address the HIV epidemic by developing targeted, innovative approaches to reach chronically underserved people. 

“Investment in targeted approaches are effective and save money, at a time when 1 in 2 and 1 in 4 Black and Latino gay and bisexual men respectively are at substantial risk for HIV infection in their lifetime. How can we reduce funding to programs that address these disparities? The President’s budget isn’t just a set of numbers, it’s a disturbing statement of values. Every voter must send their own message to Congress to express that they value the health of our people,” said Milan. 

AIDS United urges Congress to reject the draconian cuts proposed in the President’s budget request and support funding for Medicaid, HIV programs, and STD prevention. Congress cannot idly allow the return of reduced, sequester discretionary spending caps for fiscal year 2018. These restrictive caps must be raised so that non-defense discretionary programs, which include HIV programs, can be adequately funded in fiscal year 2018. A bipartisan budget agreement that provides relief from the sequester spending caps while preserving parity between defense and non-defense discretionary programs must be achieved for 2018. 

“The president’s budget would turn back the clock for years and years on progress to end the HIV epidemic. We call on Congress to keep the country moving forward,” said Milan. 

 

In addition to the cuts detailed in the above statement, below you will find additional domestic HIV cuts called for in budget request:

    • The budget proposes to eliminate two critical components of the Ryan White Program:
    • The budget would cut HIV prevention programs at the CDC by $149 million, a nearly 20 percent cut.
    • The budget maintains CDC Hepatitis Prevention funding at only $34 million
    • The budget eliminates the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund ($54 million).
    • Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) funding was also reduced at SAMHSA by over $17 million.
    • The budget reduces $26 million from the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program at HUD.
    • Funding for the National Institutes of Health would be cut by over 20 percent.

 

We encourage experienced advocates and concerned individuals alike to join AIDS United in resoundingly rejecting the President’s budget.  The release of the President’s Budget marks the beginning of the annual funding process, and there is ample opportunity for us to ensure that the president’s numbers do not become our reality. We must tell our representatives in Congress that these numbers are not a starting point, and they must provide funding levels that reflect the values of this great country.  People living with or at risk of contracting HIV, and all Americans, deserve a Congress that stands behind them.

Click here to share your support for HIV programs with your members of Congress.



Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, May 26, 2017



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