Washington, D.C. – Today, The Partnership to End the HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Epidemics issued the following statement responding to the House Appropriations Committee’s proposed Labor-HHS funding bill for fiscal year 2021:
“As we have seen in the wake of a devastating global pandemic, a strong public health infrastructure must be a national priority. COVID-19 has spotlighted the effect of shortchanging public health for decades, and it has put racial disparities in this country’s health system in stark relief. These disparities are, sadly, not new. Racism is a public health crisis, and COVID-19 is just one example of its deadly impact.
While we appreciate the increased funding levels, discretionary budget caps are preventing these programs from receiving the funding necessary to truly end the HIV, STD and Hepatitis epidemics. We urge Congressional leaders to ensure that vital public health funding is not strangled by arbitrary caps on public spending. As has been amply demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, public health programs are as crucial to the protection of our nation as the many national defense programs that are exempted from budgetary caps. More must be done as we continue to combat COVID-19 and build a public health system that addresses the needs of all Americans, not a privileged few.
Through our decades of experience, we have seen the pervasive and enduring health inequities among Black Americans, including new rates of HIV at nearly double the rate of white Americans. Black people are also diagnosed with STDs at 5-10 times the rate of white people. These are public health failures. Now more than ever, Congress needs to invest in the very programs and services required to successfully fight back against the COVID-19, HIV, STD, and hepatitis epidemics.
As our country continues to battle COVID-19, we must equip our health officials with the necessary tools and resources needed to respond to ongoing public health crises including the HIV, STD, and Hepatitis epidemics and the racial inequities fueling these epidemics.”
- CDC HIV Prevention Ending the HIV Epidemic – $10 million increase
- CDC School Health – $2 million increase
- CDC STD Program – $2 million increase
- Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Ending the HIV Epidemic – $25 million increase
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) – $20 million increase
- Indian Health Services Ending the Epidemic – $5 million increase
AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations who formed the Partnership to End HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis in order to secure the necessary rights, resources, and services for those affected by the HIV, STD, and Hepatitis epidemics through sound policies and appropriations at the federal level. Learn more at www.endhivstdhep.org.