WASHINGTON, May 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over the weekend, Congress completed negotiations on the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding bills for the federal government, averting a government shut-down. While funding was cut for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s STD program and Part C of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, funding was increased for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program. HIV prevention programs at CDC and other parts of the Ryan White Program were level funded.
"We are grateful that Congress increased funding for HOPWA and maintained funding for HIV prevention, most parts of the Ryan White Program, and the Minority AIDS Initiative -- but we are shocked that STD funding and Ryan White Part C funding was reduced," said David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD). "All of these programs work together to ensure that as a nation, we are comprehensively fighting HIV and other STDs, and caring for those living with HIV or impacted by other STDs," remarked Murray C. Penner, executive director of NASTAD. "Specifically for STDs, we are at a 20-year high for rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, and funding cuts devastate our ability to reverse these trends," Harvey added.
"The increase to the HOPWA program will ensure that people living with HIV maintain access to housing, a critical part of the care and prevention toolbox. The Ryan White Program, Minority AIDS Initiative, and HIV prevention at CDC are crucial federal programs and while we all know that the federal budget environment is challenged, we are grateful to maintain funding – but we have much work to do to reduce racial disparities in HIV and other STDs when it comes to care and prevention," said Paul Kawata, executive director of the NMAC.
With the expected approval by Congress of the final FY 2017 federal funding bill and its expected signature by President Trump, in total the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is funded at $2.318 billion, $4 million less than FY2016, HOPWA funding was increased by $21 million to $356 million, CDC HIV prevention programs were level funded at $755.3 million, and CDC STD prevention programs were reduced by $5 million to $152.3 million.
"As a partnership of national organizations working together with other coalitions, we will work to restore cuts and increase funding across the HIV and STD federal portfolio of programs as Congress takes up FY2018 federal spending measures," said Michael Ruppal, executive director of The AIDS Institute. "The cut to Part C Ryan White clinics will directly impact patient care and must be rectified," Ruppal added.
"As the FY2018 budget process begins, we will continue to bring the voice of people living with HIV and STDs, providers of care, and public health experts to Congress, working to ensure that we maintain our progress in ending the HIV epidemic and reducing STDs in America," remarked Jesse Milan, Jr., President and CEO of AIDS United.
AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the U.S. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV and STD prevention, care and treatment in the United States.
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SOURCE National Coalition of STD Directors