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JULY 20, 2012

International AIDS Conference Returns to the U.S.

It's finally (almost) here. AIDS 2012, the 19th International AIDS Conference will convene in Washington, DC, July 22-27, 2012. The Opening Ceremony will be held on Sunday, 7:00-9:00 p.m. (EDT). The theme of this year's conference is "Turning the Tide Together."

AIDS 2012 marks the return of the International AIDS Conference to the United States after 22 years. Conference organizers essentially boycotted the U.S. because of the U.S. law and policies barring entry to the U.S. -- for travel and immigration -- by individuals infected with HIV. This heinous and scientifically unsound travel and immigration ban was repealed in the legislation reauthorizing President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and actually lifted when those regulations went into effect in 2010.

Leading up to the conference, on Wednesday, July 18, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched Together We Will End AIDS, a new report containing the latest data on numbers of new HIV infections, numbers of people receiving antiretroviral treatment, AIDS-related deaths and HIV among children. The report also gives an overview of international and domestic HIV investments and the need for sustainability.

Click here for more information on the UNAIDS report.

The Kaiser Family Foundation will provide online coverage of AIDS 2012.

Click here for general information on the conference. At the website you can also read and sign onto The Washington D.C. Declaration: "Turning the Tide Together: A Declaration to End the AIDS Epidemic."

In light of the conference the Policy Update will not be issued next week.

GAO Report Critical of HRSA Grantee Oversight

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) entitled, "Ryan White CARE Act: Improvements Needed in Oversight of Grantees"  issued several critical findings about the oversight of Ryan White Program Part A and Part B grantees. The GAO released the report on June 11 to four key members of the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). The Senators were Tom Harkin (D-IA, HELP Chair), Michael Enzi (R-WY, Ranking Member), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Tom Coburn (R-OK).

The report states that the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), which is responsible for the Ryan White Program, did not consistently follow the Department of Health and Human Services' or its own guidance for "documenting routine monitoring, prioritizing grantee site visits, reviewing annual single audit findings, or clearly communicating with grantees about the restrictive drawdown process." The report also found that there is a lack of follow up when problems are documented and that a lack of records and frequent changes in project officers challenges HRSA's oversight functions.

The GAO noted that HRSA "did not demonstrate a clear strategy for selecting the grantees it visited from 2008 through 2011"  -- for example, prioritizing site visits based on the time since a previous visit, a history of problems or the size of the grantee. Several recent news articles and blogs noted that relatively small grantees such as the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, received visits during the winter. However it should be noted that both of those grantees have been the focus of specific community concerns that were communicated to HRSA and the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). A remaining notable issue is that implementation of national standards for grantee monitoring of service providers (subgrantees) created additional problems because grantees did not have adequate technical assistance or guidance in implementing the standards.

The GAO made five specific recommendations to HRSA to improve oversight. They are:

  • Ensure that the agency is implementing the key elements of grantee oversight consistent with HHS and HRSA guidance, including routine monitoring, the provision of technical assistance, site visits and restrictive drawdown.
  • Assess and revise its record retention management program so that complete grantee files are available for a period of time that HRSA determines will satisfy all of the agency's grantee oversight needs.
  • Develop a strategic, risk-based approach for selecting grantees for site visits that better targets the use of available resources to ensure that HRSA visits grantees at regular and timely intervals.
  • Update and maintain a program manual for grantees.
  • Use the results of HRSA's survey of grantees to identify grantees' training needs to allow them to comply with the National Monitoring Standards.

HRSA has stated that it agrees with the recommendations and will seek to follow them.

On another note, HRSA completed a series of four regional listening sessions this week to seek commentary regarding a possible Ryan White CARE Act reauthorization. The sessions included a listening session for the South on July 9, Midwest on July 11, the West on July 16 and Northeast on July 18. HRSA continues to seek comments regarding reauthorization via the internet.  Comments are due July 31st and can be provided here.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Votes to Cut Critical Health Programs

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a mark up on Wednesday, July 18th to debate the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) appropriations bill. Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) stated the draft bill includes $150 billion in discretionary funding, which is a cut of $6.3 billion below Fiscal Year 2012 level and $8.8 billion below the President's budget request and the Senate committee's approved bill. The President's and the Senate's version are based on the Budget and Control Act approved last year during the budget deficit debates. The funding level is more than $2 billion below the amount provided in fiscal year 2009 for this bill. AIDS United is opposed to this legislation due the drastic cuts to critical health programs.

The Health and Human Services portion of the bill is $68.3 billion, $1.3 billion below the Fiscal Year 2012 levels, $1.8 billion below the president's request, and $2.7 billion below the Senate bill's level. In another attempt to eradicate health care reform, the subcommittee completely defunds the implementation, administration, and enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill also rescinds mandatory funding of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. In addition, $300 million was cut from the expansion of Community Health Centers as part of defunding of the ACA.

The bill cuts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB by $105 million. Overall, the Ryan White Program is cut by $66.5 million, with an increase of $66.7 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to match the President's request of $1 billion. All of the other parts of the Ryan White Program will be cut to allow that increase to occur. The National Institutes of Health was flat funded with a 3% cap on transfers of funding to the Office of AIDS Research, which has previously been 10%. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which houses the HIV Research Network, was zeroed out in this bill as well.

For the second year in a row this bill zeroes out funding for Title X, which pays for such medical services as HIV testing, contraception and cancer screenings, primarily for low-income women. It also forbids any funding to Planned Parenthood for the second straight year. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative was cut $85 million to $20 million. Abstinence-only funding was increased by $15 million to $20 million. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) was drastically cut in this legislation. It retains funding for the Senior Volunteer program and funding to close out everything else including the Social Innovation Fund and AmeriCorps.

Prior to the final vote Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) offered an amendment against all of the policy riders, including syringe services, ban on Planned Parenthood funding, abortion non-discrimination, and others since the policies are legislating on an appropriations bill. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) offered an amendment to strike the Planned Parenthood provision. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) offered an amendment to strike ACA defunding provision. All of the amendments were defeated along party line votes 9 - 5.

The final bill was approved by an 8 - 6 vote with Chair Rogers for the bill and Ranking Member Dicks voting against.  Rep. Flake (R-AZ) voted with the Democrats against the bill since he felt the funding was too high.  The bill may be brought to the full Appropriations Committee for discussion and amendments next week, but that is not yet certain. We have been told that funding amendments will be entertained at that time. We will keep you informed.

Click here for the entire bill.

Click here for Chairman Rogers' press release.

Click here for the Ranking Member Dick's press release.

Click here for Rep Dick's Committee statement .

Click here for Franking Member DeLauro's Committee statement .

"Ending the HIV/AIDS  Epidemic Act" Introduced

On Wednesday, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Act, along with at least 20 co-sponsors. The Act has been billed as a framework on how to achieve an AIDS-Free generation in the U.S. as well as globally. According to the bill's authors, the bill:

  • increases and targets federal resources for "maximize impact;"
  • expands efforts to end stigma and discrimination that inhibit access to health services;
  • repeals and reforms laws that violate human rights and limit the positive impact of resources; and
  • maximizes federal coordinating efforts to drive greater efficiency and improved results. 

AIDS United provided an organizational endorsement of the bill and as well as technical comments. Members of the House of Representatives can become co-sponsors of the bill by contacting Rep. Lee's staffer, Jirair Ratevosian, at Jirair.Ratevosian@mail.house.gov or 202-225-2661.

HIV-Positive Prisoner David Plunkett Released

David Plunkett, an HIV-infected man who was convicted of biting a police officer, was released from prison on Thursday, July 19. The New York Superior Court ruled that a person living with HIV biting another person does not constitute a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument under New York’s state law. Mr. Plunkett had been serving a 10-year sentence at the Sing Sing prison after being arrested at a medical clinic and biting a police officer’s finger. Many HIV/AIDS activists had expressed strong concern that Mr. Plunkett had still been incarcerated three weeks after the court’s order. In a statement made to AIDS United on Wednesday, Peter Cutler, the Director of Public Information for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, confirmed that Mr. Plunkett would be released on Thursday. In the statement Mr. Cutler said that the Department moved “as expeditiously as possible” and that the prison had fast-tracked a process that often takes place over several months. HIV/AIDS activists had also expressed concern that Mr. Plunkett had difficulty receiving HIV medications. According to Mr. Cutler’s statement, the Department of Corrections was “not aware of any problems with his accessing HIV meds.”

Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director of the Center for HIV AIDS Law and Policy, said that lack of awareness was disconcerting, in that both Plunkett and his attorney confirmed that in fact he has had multiple interruptions in his HIV medication access, including a stretch of several days just last week.

AIDS United continues to work with the Positive Justice Project and many others to end the criminalization of HIV/AIDS throughout the United States.


PictureNo AIDS United Policy Update Next Week during International AIDS Conference

AIDS United (AU) will not issue a Policy Update next week on Friday, July 27 during the 2012 International AIDS Conference hosted in Washington D.C on July 22 -27.

Click here for AIDS United's activities at the 2012 International AIDS Conference

Advocacy Toolkit: "HIV Legislative Week in Washington, D.C.: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Influencing Policy on Capitol Hill"

Thousands of HIV/AIDS advocates from across the country will assemble in Washington, D.C. for the 2012 International AIDS Conference (IAC), marches and mobilizations and to view the AIDS Quilt in late July and early August. This is a tremendous opportunity for the HIV/AIDS community to tell their legislators about the needs of people living with HIV in the United States.

AIDS United, along with our partners the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), theTreatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP), AIDSWatch, and the POZ Army, are seeking at least 500 HIV advocates from the United States to visit their Members of Congress while they are here in July and tell them how to reach an AIDS-free generation. Together we launched an "HIV Legislative Week in Washington, D.C.: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Influencing Policy on Capitol Hill" advocacy toolkit. This advocacy toolkit is specifically designed for HIV/AIDS advocates and packed with how-to guides, helpful tips and editable resources on how conduct successful legislative visits.

In addition, AIDS United, AIDSWatch, NAPWA, POZ Army and TAEP will be offering advocacy and communication opportunities throughout the conference and at the display of the AIDS Quilt!

Pledge to join hundreds -- even thousands -- other HIV advocates in visiting your Members of Congress while you are in Washington, D.C. for the International AIDS Conference!

Meet the CDC at AIDS 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is heading to the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.! Meet CDC leaders and experts in science, policy, program, and communication for informal discussions at Exhibit 51 in the United States Government pavilion.

Monday, July 23

11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Dawn Smith
- Overview of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

12:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m.
John Ward, Director, CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis

2:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m.
Alexa Oster - Foreign Location of Birth and Time since Immigration are Associated with HIV Status among Hispanic MSM in the United States

3:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m.
Stephen Flores
- Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Planning and
Implementation for Metropolitan Statistical Areas Most Affected by HIV/AIDS

4:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.
Howell Wechsler
- Director, CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health

5:00 p.m. -6:30 p.m.
Linda Valleroy - Associate Director for Science, CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

Tuesday, July 24

11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Nancy Habarta - HIV Testing among Transgender Persons Funded by the CDC in the United States, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands

12:00 p.m. -1:00 p.m.
Rich Wolitski
- Senior Advisor for Strategic Indicators, CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m.
Janet Cleveland
- Deputy Director for Prevention Programs, CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

2:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m.
Eric Pevzner
- Overview of International HIV and TB activities

4:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.

Laura Kann - Differences in HIV-Related Risk Behavior Trends among Subgroups of United States Adolescents, 1991-2011

Wednesday, July 25

11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Jonathan Mermin - Director, CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

12:00 p.m. -1:00 p.m.
Nick Deluca
and Susan Robinson - Overview of HIV Prevention Communication

1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m.
David Purcell - Behavioral and Social Sciences in the Era of Combination HIV Prevention

3:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m.
Gail Bolan
- Director, CDC Division of STD Prevention

4:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.
Salaam Semaan
- Scientific, Programmatic, and Policy Implications of Safer Injection Facilities for Persons who Inject Drugs

Thursday, July 26

10:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
Kevin Fenton - Director, CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention: Meet the CHAC

12:00 p.m. -1:00 p.m.
Irene Hall
- United States Surveillance Overview

1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m.
Amy Lansky
- Deputy Director for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Science, CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

2:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m.
Angela Hutchinson - Cost-Effectiveness of More Frequent HIV Screening of MSM in the United States
Stephanie Sansom - Overview of Cost-Effectiveness

Click here for more information on CDC activities at AIDS 2012

Last chance to register for "Return to Lisner"!

We are pleased to join Whitman-Walker Health and over 50 community organizations to present "Return to Lisner: A forum on the state of HIV/AIDS," Tuesday July 24, 6:30pm at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University. This event will feature a panel of experts discussing the past, present and future of HIV/AIDS as well as a keynote presentation by Jeanne White-Ginder, (mother of Ryan White) who has been on the front lines of the struggle since almost the beginning. We are also pleased to announce that Tom Sherwood of NBC 4 has agreed to moderate this historic event.

Advance registration is REQUIRED. THERE WILL BE A LIMITED NUMBER OF SEATS AVAILABLE on the day of the event.

Click here for complete information about the event and to register .

Hastings Introduces Resolution Recognizing 2012 International AIDS Conference

On Friday, June 29, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) introduced H.Res.713 in support of the 2012 International AIDS Conference (IAC) and to reconfirm the United States' commitment to addressing the global HIV/AIDS epidemic through research, prevention, and treatment programs. The 2012 IAC will be hosted in Washington, D.C. from July 22 to 27 and expected to attract over 20,000 delegates from 200 countries.

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

Click here to read the statement on Congressman Hastings' website .

Click here to read H.Res.713 .

Attending the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, D.C.?

Join the important conversation about the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy - its key accomplishments, challenges, and future directions - that will take place on Sunday afternoon, July 22, 2012 from 1:30-3:30 PM in Session Room 9 at the Convention Center. The satellite session, titled "Achieving the Goals of the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Future Directions," is being organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will feature federal, state, and community perspectives on implementation of the two-year old strategy. This satellite session will take advantage of this unprecedented gathering of those working in the field of HIV and will engage representatives from diverse sectors in a dialogue about NHAS accomplishments to date and how we can best move forward together to achieve the strategy's vision and goals. With pursuit of the NHAS goals in the forefront of U.S. participants' minds, AIDS 2012 will serve as a rich venue to learn about best practices -- and overcoming challenges -- from colleagues across the country and from other nations. These valuable lessons can inform and advance all facets of our own local, state, regional, and national efforts to treat and prevent HIV and turn the tide together.

Read more about the session in Dr. Ronald Valdiserri's recent blog post .

2012 HIV/AIDS Law & Practice Conference
The American Bar Association (ABA) AIDS Coordinating Committee will convene its sixth biannual HIV/AIDS Law and Practice Conference on July 20-21, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., immediately preceding the XIX International AIDS Conference in D.C. Conference topics and participants will be multi-disciplinary and reflect both domestic and international issues in HIV/AIDS-related law, policy and practice.

Click here to register for the conference !

July 24th HIV Mobilization Planned at International AIDS Conference
Large scale actions have traditionally taken place at each International AIDS Conference to draw public and media attention to HIV prevention, treatment and research. As the time for the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. approaches, some local and national HIV groups are continuing this tradition by calling for a community mobilization around human rights and economic justice on July 24.

More information about the mobilization can be found here.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ACA Implementation Forums

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) will host multiple forums to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA), specifically on next steps concerning ACA implementation, creation of the Affordable Insurance Exchanges in all states, and coverage provisions of the ACA effective in 2014. These sessions will be hosted across the country and run from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Please click here to RSVP for one of the following sessions .

August 14: Washington, D.C. (This session will also be webcast)

Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Great Hall

200 Independence Ave., SW

Washington, DC 20201

August 15: Atlanta

National Archives at Atlanta

5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260

August 21: Chicago

Social Security Administration, Center Auditorium

600 West Madison Street

Chicago, IL 60661

August 22: Denver

Davis Auditorium in Sturm Hall, University of Denver

2000 E. Asbury Ave.

Denver, CO 80208

Click here to pre-register (required) .

Click here for more information on the Affordable Care Act and Exchanges .

Contact hhsiea@hhs.gov with questions and comments.

If you are a member of the media and would like to attend, please contact Fabien at fabien.levy@hhs.gov.

Coalition for Health Funding's Nondefense Discretionary Letter and Toolkit

On Thursday July 12, the Coalition for Health Funding sent a cross-community letter of support for nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs to all congressional offices and major media outlets. In total, nearly 3,000 national, state, and local groups signed on.

Click here for the NDD Letter .

Click here to read the Coalition for Health Funding's press release .

In addition, the NDD Summit has developed a toolkit of materials to help community organizations promote their participation in supporting NND programs.

1) Sample press release: Use this press release template to showcase your involvement.

2) Media talking points: Use these talking points if you receive calls from the media regarding your organization's participation.

3) Social Media Tip Sheet and Sample Tweets. Direct messaging to the Members of Congress! The tip sheet includes the complete list of Members of Congress and their Twitter handles, as well as other social media accounts.

4) Customizable NDD Fact Sheet, available here. For your ongoing efforts on Capitol Hill, we encourage you to use this fact sheet and customize it to suit your needs using the blue, editable text box on page two.

Aerospace Industries Association's Report Showing Job and GDP loss from Sequestration

On Tuesday, July 17, the Aerospace Industries Association commissioned a report developed by the George Washington University Center of Regional Analysis demonstrating "The Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on DOD (Department of Defense) and Non-DOD Agencies," especially regarding full implementation of sequestration.

Click here to access the report .

HIV/AIDS Advocates Katy Caldwell and Scot More Featured on NPR

HIV/AIDS advocates Katy Caldwell (Executive Director of Legacy Community Health Services and AIDS United Public Policy Committee member) and Scot More (Community Resource Manager of Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County) were featured as speakers on Tuesday, July 2's National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition segment titled "Advocates Worry Texas Won't Expand Medicaid." They both expressed concerns for Texas's inflexibility in regards to development of its health insurance marketplace and possible rejection of Medicaid money from the federal government.

Click here to listen to the NPR segment or read the transcript .

New HHS Funding Initiative Focuses Largely on Southern States
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a 3-year, $44 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on June 8, 2012, focused largely on Deep South states with the goal of reducing HIV-related deaths and associated health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. Eighteen state health departments are eligible to apply for funding, including 12 in the South. Twenty-five percent of funds received by state health departments must go to community based organizations.

Application Deadline Date: July 31, 2012, 11:59 p.m. ET

To Access the Announcement & Application Package:

1. Go to: www.grants.gov

2. Select: "For Applicants"

3. Select: "Find Grant Opportunities"

4. Select: "Basic Search"

5. Type in the Funding Opportunity Number, formatted as: CDC-RFA-PS12-1210.

Want To Help Make History Demanding Female Condoms?

What could break a world record AND save lives at the same time? A paper doll!!

Thousands of paper dolls from dozens of countries will appear at the International AIDS Conference to demand accessible and affordable female condoms for all who need them. Each doll holds a unique message - representing the voice of one person demanding female condoms. Organizers of the Paper Dolls Campaign hope to present 28,000 dolls (almost four miles long to break the current Guinness World Record for the longest paper doll chain.

To do so, we need YOUR voice! Click here to write your message so it can be placed on a paper doll and added to the growing chain. It's fast and free. Be part of making history and, more importantly, saving lives by making effective HIV prevention accessible worldwide.

AIDS United Hiring Regional Field Organizer
AIDS United seeks a Regional Field Organizer to work with its grantees, partners, and allies to implement a coordinated national organizing strategy. The Regional Field Organizer will help mobilize grassroots state and federal HIV/AIDS-related advocacy to achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The Regional Field Organizer will be located in Texas.

Learn more about the Regional Field Organizer position .

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