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JULY 26, 2013
Do-It-Yourself Legislative Visits with Your Members of Congress During the August Recess

The August recess is the perfect time for you and your organization to meet with your Members of Congress to remind them that HIV is an issue that impacts YOUR community! Beginning August 3, 2013, until September 8, 2013, Members of Congress will be in their districts, conducting town halls and meeting with constituents to understand what issues are impacting them. AIDS United has put together an August recess toolkit that can be used by individuals and organizations to make the most out of this month-long recess.

Our August recess advocacy toolkit is specifically designed for HIV/AIDS advocates like you! Using Prezi, a web-based presentation application, we will take you through a fun and easy-to-follow presentation that will enable any HIV advocate – including you! – to 1) Find Your Members of Congress, 2) Organize a Meeting, 3) Meet Your Members of Congress and 4) Follow-Up – all from your home district! You don’t need to come to Washington, D.C., to have an influence on Capitol Hill!

House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Bill Markup Postponed Indefinitely

Republicans on the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) have indefinitely postponed the markup of the bill that was supposed to occur on Thursday. Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA), Chair of the subcommittee, released a statement that the committee was “waiting for the calendar to give [them] the breathing room” to ensure adequate time for a markup. The bill as proposed by the House Republicans would cut funding to crucial health, education, and labor programs by keeping sequestration, the series of automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect on March 1, 2013, in place and would increase Defense appropriations. The funding level proposed in the House Labor-HHS bill for Fiscal Year 2014 is 26% lower than the Senate Labor-HHS allocation and would be the lowest funding level since 2001. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, released a statement on this decision, criticizing the Majority Leadership for their drastic cuts to these critical programs.

Should Republicans continue demanding even deeper spending cuts, Senior White House officials are considering a budget strategy that could result in a government shutdown. They are also currently exploring a budget strategy that would stop sequestration from continuing. Click here to read a Washington Post article about the Administration’s stance towards the budget.

Senate Debates Bill That Includes Cuts to Housing

This week, the Senate began debate on S.1243, the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill. This bill will determine the levels of funding given to important housing and development bills next year. Study after study has shown that housing stability is a key factor in seeking and adhering to treatment for HIV, so inadequate funding has the potential to negatively affect the lives of people with HIV who struggle to find or maintain housing.

In particular, the housing- and development-related amendments most troublesome to HIV advocates are #1768, which would cut HOME Investment Partnership funding by $50 million; #1758, which would cut Community Development funding by $360 million; #1753, which would eliminate the Interagency Council on Homelessness; and #1754, which threatens Homeless Assistance Grants. Votes on these amendments are expected when debate on this bill continues next week. The House is expected to begin debate on their version of THUD early next week.

Announcements

World Hepatitis Day – July 28, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013, marks the 6th annual World Hepatitis Day. Hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States and a leading cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. About 3 million adults in the United States are infected with Hepatitis C, most of whom are baby boomers. However, between 65-75% of those infected with Hepatitis C are unaware of their infection, and lack of medical care can result in significant liver damage. Furthermore, between 800,000 and 1.4 million people are living with Hepatitis B in the United States. Like HIV, Hepatitis disproportionately impacts minority communities; African-Americans have significantly higher rates of Hepatitis C than other communities, while Asian and Pacific Islanders account for more than 50% of those living with Hepatitis B.

You can learn more about Hepatitis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here.

Click here to read the Department of Health and Human Services’ World Hepatitis Day announcement, which calls for a renewal of the landmark Viral Hepatitis Action Plan for 2014-2016.


Save the Date: The North American Housing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit VII

The North American Housing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit VII is taking place September 25-27, 2013, in Montreal, Canada. As the premiere venue for informing HIV/AIDS housing policy, Summit VII will bring together researchers, policy experts, consumers and providers of HIV/AIDS housing to review findings from research and policy initiatives, discuss evidence-based housing practice and policy, and develop community-driven research and advocacy strategies.

The theme of Summit VII is Closing the Housing Gap in the HIV Treatment Cascade, to focus on the potential of housing strategies to improve HIV treatment effectiveness: the focus of HIV prevention and care strategies in most jurisdictions.

Click here to learn more and to register.


Positive Women’s Network – USA Seeking HIV-Positive Women for Survey

Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA) is celebrating its fifth birthday! To mark the occasion, PWN-USA is seeking input from women living with HIV in the United States, including trans women, to help build a stronger future for women living with HIV/AIDS in the US. Click here to access the survey, and please share widely.


Pledge to Take Action on Global Female Condom Day, September 16, 2013!

September 16, 2013, marks the second annual Global Female Condom Day, and the National Female Condom Coalition and Universal Access to Female Condoms Joint Programme are seeking your support! Click here and pledge to take action along with female condom advocates across the globe on September 16, 2013.


Email your Republican Members of Congress TODAY to Support the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act!

Last month marked the 32nd anniversary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that first identified AIDS. Five patients in Los Angeles were treated for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and were the first to be identified in the MMWR with symptoms of what would later be known as AIDS. Thirty-two years later, we finally have the tools, scientific knowledge, and expertise to see the end of HIV.

Despite our wealth of knowledge now, 32 states and 2 U.S. territories still have criminal statutes based on perceived exposure to HIV. H.R. 1843, the REPEAL (‘‘Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal”) HIV Discrimination Act, is bipartisan legislation that addresses the serious problem of discrimination in the use of criminal and civil commitment laws against those who test positive for HIV. This bill would modernize current criminal law approaches that target people living with HIV for felony charges and severe punishments for behavior that is otherwise legal or that poses no measurable risk of HIV transmission.

The time to sign is NOW. CLICK HERE to email your Republican Member of Congress and encourage her or him to sign on as a cosponsor to the bipartisan REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act! It is crucial to have significant Republican support for this bill before reaching out to Democratic Members. Without strong initial Republican backing, we will be unable to achieve full bipartisan support for this critical issue.


AVAC Accepting Applications for 2014 Advocacy Fellowships

AVAC, Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, is accepting applications now until August 5, 2013, for their 2014 HIV Prevention Research Advocacy Fellowships. The goal of AVAC’s Advocacy Fellowship is to expand the capacity of advocates and organizations to monitor, support and help shape biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation of proven interventions worldwide. The Advocacy Fellowship is guided by AVAC’s conviction that effective and sustainable advocacy grows out of work that reflects organizational and individual interests, priorities and partnerships.

The Advocacy Fellowship provides support to emerging and mid-career advocates to design and implement advocacy projects focused on biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation activities in their countries and communities. These projects are designed to addresses locally identified gaps and priorities. Fellows receive training, full-time financial support and technical assistance to plan and implement a targeted one-year project within host organizations working in HIV/AIDS and/or advocacy.

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