A funding request by US President Donald Trump for an additional $300 million to fight HIV/AIDS in 2020 has been given the seal of approval by Congress.
In a bipartisan agreement just before Christmas, House and Senate appropriation bill amenders agreed to keep the government running for 2020 and as part of that was the additional $300 million Trump sought in February for his administration’s plan to beat HIV by 2030.
The increased funding would provide the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention with an additional $140 million to implement the plan as requested by the administration, as well as $70 million for the Ryan White Health Care Act and $50 million for the Health Resources & Services Administration.
Deputy Director of the AIDS Institute and co-chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS Carl Schmid hailed the agreement to appropriate the plan as very good news.
“It provides the necessary foundational funding to begin the work of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative as laid out by the administration,” Schmid said.
“But, in order for it to be successful, HIV prevention and treatment efforts will have to be scaled up dramatically, which will require both the administration and the Congress to support even greater funding increases in the future.”
Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the funds are a good start, but additional money is needed in subsequent years to keep the plan going.
“As a first-year instalment, it represents a significant increase for these programs and should help to jump-start the effort,” Kates said.
“But it will be important to see what future funding requests are made, to fully reach targets.”
The administration had also sought an additional $25 million as part of the HIV/AIDS plan for Indian Health Services. However, that money wasn’t included as part of the spending package, according to the AIDS Institute.
Schmid said that omission is “not a good start by the Congress for ramping up Hep C and HIV efforts in Indian country.”
Trump had requested the additional funds for HIV/AIDS programs as part of the initiative to beat HIV he announced at the State of the Union address this year.
The plan, which fell on sceptical ears to those familiar with his anti-LGBTQ record, seeks to target specific places with high rates of new infections with prevention and treatment services, including free access to PrEP.
Under the plan, which targets 48 counties in the United States, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as seven states where the epidemic is mostly in rural areas, the goal is to reduce new HIV diagnoses by 75 per cent within five years, and by 90 per cent within 10 years.
At the same time Congress approved an increase in funds to combat HIV/AIDS, lawmakers rejected proposed cuts in other areas, including research and the global fight.
Last Updated on Dec 31, 2019