Washington, DC - On March 16, 2017, President Trump released the administration's initial budget request, which severely cuts funding to agencies responsible for protecting the public health and responding to infectious diseases, including HIV. The Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) faces an 18% cut to funding. Congress must support HIV and STD programs by rejecting this topline budget and ensuring that funding for non-defense discretionary programs is maintained.
"We appreciate that the Administration recognizes the importance of the Ryan White providers, other safety-net providers, and global health, including PEPFAR, however the cuts to the National Institutes of Health, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other parts of HHS will reverse our progress on ending the HIV epidemic. If enacted, the budget would be devastating to our nation's public health infrastructure and harm people living with and/or at risk for HIV and STDs. HIV and STD programs are critical to the public health of our nation and must not be cut," commented Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.
Congress and the Administration must ensure that there is continued progress in reducing new HIV and STD infections and providing access to affordable, high-quality, and life-saving care and treatment for people living with HIV and to ensure further research, care and treatment in making progress in ending other STDs. We urge Congress to reject this top line budget and the Trump Administration to revise these spending levels as they develop a more detailed budget request. Congress must appropriate adequate funding to HIV and STD programs to end the HIV epidemic.
The President's Budget would also eliminate parity between defense and non-defense spending cap increases and proposes significant increases to defense spending at the expense of cuts to non-defense discretionary funding. "To end the HIV epidemic and maintain progress on HIV and STD prevention, treatment, care, and support, defense spending and non-defense discretionary spending must be funded in a balanced approach. We expect Congress to take action and ensure balance for these cap increases," stated Paul Kawata, Executive Director of NMAC.
David C. Harvey, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors ( NCSD ) added "CDC data show the highest combined rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the U.S. in 20 years. With further budget cuts, we can expect these rates to continue to rise, which is quite alarming."
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.