President Joe Biden
The White House
Dear President Biden,
Thank you for your steady hand during these difficult times. With the world on fire, it is easy to become overwhelmed and scared. Your FY23 budget sent an important message about your commitment to end the HIV epidemic. Your initial commitment or $213 million in mandatory funding to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Delivery Program to End the HIV epidemic is a critical step to bring the promise of PrEP to all communities highly impacted by HIV. And, most importantly, thank you for your overall commitment for $9.8 billion in funding over 10 years to guarantee PrEP at no cost for all uninsured and underinsured individuals.
Disappointingly, the request misses an opportunity to combat record high STDS like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphillis. NMAC strongly urges Congress to supplement the President’s request with significant additional resources to combat rising STD rates and for the Administration to support this increase through the Congressional process.
Now the HIV community must work quickly with Congress to pass the budget. With all the divisions on the Hill and the midterm elections this fall, our window is short. Passing the budget will be a very heavy lift and there are no guarantees. NMAC is ready and willing to do what it takes; however, this needs to be a team effort that includes national, state, and local partners. NMAC will prioritize community and the important voices of people of color, particularly those living with HIV.
In anticipation of your budget, NMAC’s board of directors authorized spending reserve funds to support additional beltway professionals. We are going full Washington, DC in partnership with AIDS United, NASTAD, NCSD, and the AIDS Institute. For a small minority organization like NMAC, this is a big deal. I am so proud the board was willing to take this risk with no guarantees. We sold our corporate headquarters a few years back, the money from this sale created our rainy-day nest egg. NMAC is betting a portion of our future on passing the FY23 budget. That’s how much we believe in this administration and our movement.
A PrEP delivery program must work hand in glove with our efforts to Ending the Epidemic, but the devil is in the details. As the data show, African Americans make up 45% of the new cases of HIV, yet they are only 8% of the people on PrEP. In the near term, NMAC will put together a series of recommendations on program implementation, but right now we wanted to say thank you. I came to Washington in 1985 to fight an epidemic that was killing people I loved. I never imaged I would still be here in 2022. Passing your FY23 budget is an important next step for our work to end the HIV epidemic. Thank you for believing in the science of PrEP and the need to bring this important tool to all the communities highly impacted by HIV.
Yours in the Struggle,