President Joe Biden has requested Congress spend an additional $670 million on measures to fight HIV in the U.S., including access to PrEP and treatment.
The White House’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 was released this past Friday, and Vox called the $6 trillion proposal an “ambitious plan” that “reimagines how – and for whom – the American economy works.” And that includes how it works for people living with HIV.
The $670 million for fighting HIV in the budget increase funding for several programs, including an additional $100 million for the CDC’s efforts to fight HIV and a $85 million increase for the Ryan White CARE Act, which helps low-income and uninsured people access HIV medications. The Biden administration is also requesting $22 million more for Indian Health Services at the Department of Health and Human Services to help provide resources for members of Native American tribes.
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The budget also asks for $50 million in additional funding for community health centers to provide access to PrEP and more funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program.
During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to “re-commit to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025.” His campaign website specifically cited several of the programs that he is requesting increased funding for.
The budget is just a proposal and has to be enacted by Congress, and it’s unlikely that it will be passed in its current form. Effectively, it’s a message to Congress about the administration’s priorities and can help build support for spending.
And Biden’s proposal has already gotten positive feedback from top Congressional Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“A federal budget should be a statement of our national values,” Pelosi tweeted. “President Biden’s budget is an unequivocal declaration of the value that Democrats place on America’s workers and middle class families, who are the foundation of our nation’s strength and the key to #BuildBackBetter.”
A federal budget should be a statement of our national values. @POTUS Biden’s budget is an unequivocal declaration of the value that Democrats place on America’s workers and middle class families, who are the foundation of our nation’s strength and the key to #BuildBackBetter.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 28, 2021
Carl Schmid of the HIV + Hepatitis Policy Institute said that Biden is “demonstrating his commitment to ending HIV in the United States.”
“While it falls short of what is needed and the community has requested, if this funding is realized it will continue the momentum already created and make further progress in ending HIV in the U.S. Efforts to end HIV will help eradicate an infectious disease that we have been battling for the last 40 years and help correct racial and health inequities in our nation.”