Urge Congress to Stop Across-the-Board Cuts, Sign Onto Letter
Beginning in January 2013, all nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs will face indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts of 8.4 percent through the “sequestration” process outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011. Such cuts would devastate medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; housing and social services; and much more. The Coalition for Health Funding will submit a letter to Congress urging them to oppose these harmful cuts and are requesting organizations from across the country to sign on. If you are a local, regional or national public health or social justice organization, please consider lending your name to this critical effort by clicking here.
NMAC Submits Comments to CDC on New Hepatitis C Screening Recommendations
On June 8, NMAC comments to the CDC on their draft Recommendations for the Identification of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Chronic Infection among Persons Born during 1945 through 1965. In its comments NMAC noted that Hepatitis C treatment has proven less effective among urban minority patients and urged:
• HCV screening be accompanied by adequate support and counseling services
• CDC work with appropriate agencies to ensure expanded HCV testing is fully insured
• CDC capitalize on expanded testing initiatives to vaccinate individuals for Hepatitis A and B
Senate Advances Legislation to Fund Critical HIV/AIDS Programs
Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation that would fund the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other related agencies. The legislation includes, among other things, a $30 million increase in funding for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP), a $100 million increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a $2 million increase in funding for the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP). It also includes $1 billion in funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and would allow for federal funding to be used to support syringe exchange programs.
Meanwhile the House of Representatives is considering legislation that would allocate $330 million in funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) Program. This amount is in line with the amount President Obama requested, but is also $2 million less than the program received in 2012.
NMAC will continue to monitor Congressional budget negotiations and update its constituents on any developments.
CDC Report Highlights Alarming Drop in HIV/AIDS Education in Schools
On June 7, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which tracks everything from seat belt utilization to tobacco use among America’s youth. While the report showed improvements among many risk factors, the percentage of U.S. high school students who had learned about HIV/AIDS in school dropped from 91.5 percent in 1997 to 84 percent in 2011. At the same time, only 60 percent of young people reported using a condom during their last sexual encounter.
Read NMAC’s press release on the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey here.