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APRIL 12, 2013
President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Released

On Wednesday, President Obama released his Budget Request for FY 2014, which begins October 1, 2013. The budget proposal calls for total spending of $3.77 trillion and total revenue of $3.03 trillion, resulting in a projected FY14 deficit of $740 billion.

The budget proposal reflects the President’s continued strong commitment to the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and to the vision of an AIDS-free generation. In proposing to replace the automatic cuts (sequestration) in FY14 and the next seven years (to FY 2021), the President also shows his determination to move forward with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that is coupled with economic growth and job creation.

There are, however, several aspects of the budget that are deeply disturbing, including the proposal to use the “chained CPI” (also known as the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers) approach for annual adjustments to Social Security benefits to account for inflation. This approach would lower benefits from what they would be under current policy. The budget request also includes further cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending, although those projected cuts would not start until FY 2017. Such cuts all but certainly would affect domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs.

For AIDS United’s initial overview of the President’s FY14 budget, click here.

For interactive graphs and charts comparing the President’s budget with House and Senate budget resolutions and current policy, click here.

To see the official budget documents, visit the White House website here.

For an explanation of the chained CPI, click here.

First National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is a Success!

April 10, 2013, marked the first ever National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, and events took place around the country to commemorate this pivotal moment in the fight against HIV. AIDS United is proud to be a founding partner of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. Today’s young people are the first generation that has never known a world without HIV, and the statistics are shocking: one in four new HIV infections in the United States is among youth ages 13-24. One thousand young people every month are infected with HIV, and there are currently 76,400 young people living with HIV in the United States. Unfortunately, 60% of those youth who are HIV-positive do not know their status, meaning they are more likely to unknowingly transmit the disease. Achieving an AIDS-free generation is impossible if we don’t focus on our youth, who are undoubtedly the future of this country and the future of the epidemic.

To learn more about National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, click here.

Blueprints for Resilience: Young Black Gay Men, HIV and the Future

By Charles Stephens, AIDS United Southern Regional Organizer

“I will be heard,” shouted the black gay writer and activist Craig Harris at the 1986 American Public Health Association meeting. He was 28, and a few months prior coordinated the first ever National Conference on AIDS in the black community. Attending the American Public Health Association’s first ever session on AIDS, and noticing that no one of color was invited to participate, he stormed the stage and took the microphone from Dr. Merv Silverman, then the San Francisco health commissioner. After commanding the attention of the room, he began to explain the challenges of AIDS in communities of color. Though this happened over 25 years ago, young black gay men are still fighting to have their voices heard, as they continue to be the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.

The impact of HIV on black gay men,and young black gay men in particular, is sobering. According to the CDC, in 2010, more new HIV infections occurred among young black gay/MSM than any other age or racial group of MSM. Despite these challenges, there is a way forward. A path is gradually clearing. We now see steps to take that can decrease the number of new infections among young black gay men. Perhaps a decade ago this might have been seen as somewhat utopian, but now it’s more in the realm of possibility than ever.

To read more of Charles’ blog, click here.

North Carolina, Kentucky Governors Sign Drug Overdose Prevention Bills

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill (SB) 20 , the 911 Good Samaritan, Naloxone Access and Alcohol Immunity Bill, into law April 9, 2013. The bill provides limited immunity from prosecution for people calling 911 or seeking medical help for a drug overdose, offers limited immunity from prosecution for minors calling 911 or seeking medical assistance during alcohol poisonings, allows for easier distribution of Naloxone, and reduces liability to prescribers and administrators of Naloxone. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an opioid antagonist that can reverse the effects of overdose on opiates such as heroin.

Furthermore, AIDS United has been told that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed a non-controversial bill that includes a measure that will allow physicians to prescribe and pharmacists to distribute Naloxone to individuals or their families and friends who are at high risk for opioid overdose. Ohio state Senator Eric Kearney plans to introduce another bill similar to those passed in North Carolina and Kentucky.

As reported in a previous edition of the Policy Update, the issue of overdose prevention is strongly related to HIV/AIDS and has recently become more prominent for HIV/AIDS advocates as it has become clear that many people living with HIV, particularly injection drug users, are strongly impacted by the potential for overdose on opiates. A 2010 paper, “Why Overdose Matters for People with HIV,” from the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and Open Society Foundations, details several issues that cross over between drug use and HIV/AIDS, including that overdose is a leading cause of death among HIV-positive drug users and that overdose prevention services can also help injection drug users to prevent HIV or to attain additional HIV-related health services. The paper also notes that many of the policies that increase the risk of HIV are also connected to overdose issues. For these and other reasons, helping to reduce the risk of overdose may help lower the risk of HIV.

AIDS United continues to stay on top of issues related to drug overdose prevention and will share updates as they become available.


AIDS United Needs Your Help!

AIDS United wants to hear YOUR story about the impacts of sequestration and the $1.5 trillion in cuts already enacted by Congress! We are currently compiling stories about the real effects that drastic budget cuts and the sequester have had on people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Members of Congress need to know that the decisions they make have real, drastic impacts! Please use the following questions to frame your story:

  • What has life been like for you/your organization/your community before these budget cuts?
  • What are the indicators that sequestration may already be having an effect on you/your organization/your community?
  • What will the results be for you/your organization/your community if sequestration is fully realized?
  • What will you/your organization/your community do if the drastic budget cuts enacted in the sequester are not replaced with a more responsible and balanced solution?

You can send your stories to policy@aidsunited.org. Please keep stories to 500 words, and include a headshot if possible!

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Report on Updating Ryan White Program in Light of Affordable Care Act

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a report authored by Jeffrey Crowley of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center and Jen Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation titled “Updating the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program for a New Era: Key Issues and Questions for the Future.” The report details the current challenges and opportunities for the future of the Ryan White Program within the context of the Affordable Care Act. AIDS United is actively engaged in the conversation surrounding the future of the Ryan White Program and will be providing follow-up to this report in the near future.

Upcoming Ryan White Program Reauthorization Webinar

HIVHealthReform.org, AIDS United, and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) are hosting a webinar and conference call focusing on Ryan White Program reauthorization and possible steps forward for the program.

Wondering what it will mean if the Ryan White Program isn't reauthorized this year? Who is working to figure out the changes that are needed for the future of the program? How does all this fit in with health care reform? Why is it more important than ever to focus on federal funding for the program, and what can you do to educate your elected officials?

Ann Lefert of NASTAD and Bill McColl of AIDS United – the co-chairs of the Ryan White Work Group of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership – will give brief presentations, followed by a question and answer session.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at 11:00am PT, 12:00pm MT, 1:00pm CT, 2:00pm ET (please note the correct time for your time zone). Click here to register.

AIDS Coordinating Committee of the American Bar Association Presents “HIV Criminalization, Immigration and Domestic and Sexual Violence” Teleconference

The AIDS Coordinating Committee of the American Bar Association is hosting a bi-monthly teleconference series on Woman and HIV/AIDS throughout 2013 and will present on “HIV Criminalization, Immigration and Domestic and Sexual Violence” on Friday, April 26, 2013. Speakers include Catherine Hannssens, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for HIV Law and Policy; Allison Nichol, Special Counsel in the Office of the Associate Attorney General at the US Department of Justice; and Leslye Orloff, Director of the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP).

The teleconference will take place on Friday, April 26, 2013, from 12:00-1:00pm EST. The dial-in number for the event is (877)317-0419, and the access code is 265 842 38.

2013 Johnson & Johnson /UCLA Healthcare Executive Program Now Accepting Applications

The UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program (HCEP) is a management and leadership development program for executive directors and leaders of Community Health Centers (CHCs) and AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs). The HCEP is especially designed and valuable for ASOs and CHCs that need to prepare for and adapt to the changes in service delivery and healthcare financing related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as how the ACA will impact the future of traditional AIDS service funding mechanism like the Ryan White Care Act. The program will take place July 7-17, 2013, and the deadline to submit an application is 5:00pm PT on May 15, 2013.

You can learn more about the program, upcoming informational calls, and application directions by clicking here.

Federal AIDS Policy Partnership Seeking Respondents for Housing Work Group Survey

The Federal AIDS Policy Partnership Housing Work Group survey is seeking respondents! Please take a few minutes to answer some questions about how HIV/AIDS housing programs are working in your community and how you’re preparing for the potential changes in federal funding. This will help the group as they chart their course for the coming year. You can take the survey here.

If you have questions, please contact Jason Wise of AIDS Project Los Angeles at jwise@apla.org.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Launches New National Hepatitis Testing Day Website

May 19, 2013, is the second national Hepatitis Testing Day, and in order to support and promote the events and activities surrounding the day, the CDC has launched a new national Hepatitis Testing Day webpage. The new website allows people to search for Hepatitis Testing Day events near them during the month of May, which is also Hepatitis Awareness Month.

Hepatitis Testing Day is a day for people at risk to be tested, and for health care providers to educate patients about chronic viral hepatitis and testing. Millions of Americans have chronic hepatitis; most of them do not know they are infected.

You can read more about the initiative here.

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