Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy
Week ending: February 15, 2018
By: Sable K. Nelson & Matthew Rose
Elizabeth Warren’s ambitious plan to fight the opioid epidemic, explained
Elizabeth Warren (with Rep. Elijah Cummings) introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act in 2018 which would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to address drug addiction by boosting addiction treatment and other policy initiatives to reduce overdose deaths. This bill is being compared to the model of the Ryan White Program which greatly minimized the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. The CARE Act has not moved far in the Congress yet but it hopes to go through some more edits as it still exemplifies a great start to addressing the issue. For more information, READ → https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/2/19/18214179/elizabeth-warren-opioid-epidemic-president-trump
Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Military from Forcing Out HIV-Positive Airmen
Citing a lack of evidence that HIV should prevent them from serving, a federal judge ordered the Department of Defense to halt the pending discharge proceedings against two HIV-positive members of the U.S. Air Force. Last year, two airmen living with HIV sued after they were discharged because of their condition. They provided medical evidence to show that they were asymptomatic and physically fit to deploy. The federal judge’s ruling allows the two airmen who sued to remain in their posts pending trial. Without intervention, both would have been terminated in the next few weeks. For more information, READ → https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/federal-judge-temporarily-blocks-military-from-forcing-out-hiv-positive-airmen/2019/02/15/5e40b1a2-313c-11e9-813a-0ab2f17e305b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.86b3068aac4a
HHS Requests Community Feedback on National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (NVHAP)
Both the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (NVHAP) expire in 2020. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP), in collaboration with federal partners, is leading development of the next iterations of these two separate and distinct national strategies. To help inform the next iterations of the NHAS and NVHAP, HHS seeks input from external stakeholders for improving efficiency, effectiveness, coordination, and accountability of HIV and viral hepatitis prevention, care, treatment, and cure policies, services, and programs.
SAVE THE DATE for the In-Person Listening Session on Friday, February 22, 2019: In-person Listening Session at HHS from 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. (ET) in Room 800 of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 20201. RSVP by Thursday, February 14 by sending your name, title, and organization to HepHIVStrategies@hhs.gov.
SHARE YOUR COMMENTS IN WRITING no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on March 11, 2019: In addition, we will soon publish a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register to solicit written comments, recommendations, and ideas for updating both the NHAS and the NVHAP. As soon as the RFI is published, NMAC will provide a link to it as well as information about its deadline for input.
Electronic responses are strongly preferred and may be addressed to HepHIVStrategies@hhs.gov.
Hardcopy written responses should be addressed to:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
330 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20024
Attention HIV/Viral Hepatitis RFI
All the input gathered from the listening sessions and responses to the RFI will be shared with our federal partners, who collectively will use that information to update the vision, goals, and strategies for both plans, as well as each agency’s actions for implementing them.
For more information, READ https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/08/2019-01695/request-for-information-rfi-improving-efficiency-effectiveness-coordination-and-accountability-of
NIH Seeks Feedback from interested stakeholders on a review of the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities and Guidelines for Determining AIDS Funding
The Office of AIDS Research (OAR) in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), Office of the Director (OD), National Institutes of Health (NIH) invites feedback from interested stakeholders on a review of the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities and Guidelines for Determining AIDS Funding (NOT-OD-15-137) now entering year four of implementation. To ensure consideration, responses must be submitted by: April 13, 2019 11:59:59 PM EDT. For more information, READ https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/08/2019-01695/request-for-information-rfi-improving-efficiency-effectiveness-coordination-and-accountability-of
Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ “Medicare-For-All” For Dummies
The “Medicare–for-all” debate is already in full swing, but what does that phrase even mean? Joanne Kenen of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner for a beginner’s guide to the next big health policy debate. For “extra credit,” the panelists provide their favorite health policy stories of the week, and as a special Valentine’s Day bonus, their favorite #HealthPolicyValentines. For more information, LISTEN → https://khn.org/news/podcast-khns-what-the-health-medicare-for-all-for-dummies/
The Real Reasons Women of Color Lack Access to Health Care
The most prominent factors influencing why women of color are more severely affected with certain health issues is due to the lack of access to and understanding of health care resources. There are biases embedded in physicians and the health care system itself that directly affect care quality (according to Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe). The lack of information and resources is prevalent among women of color who need mental health. They have limited access to mental health resources and find little merit in seeking professional help. Due to their deep desire to seem strong, they perceive their struggles as a sign of weakness and wait too long before seeing a doctor. In dealing with these factors, women of color need to be empowered and educated about their options.For more information, READ → https://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/2002411/women-of-color-health-care/
What You Can Do
TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal funding for HIV prevention and care. Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet to your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will? Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines. Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.
- Find your U.S. Senators: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- Find your U.S. Representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
What NMAC is Doing About It
- NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY20 government funding and the existence of the social safety net. And we will start looking for increases to our existing programs.
- NMAC is planning for the new year and meeting our new members of Congress. We are very excited to talk to the new House about our priorities.
- NMAC is working in coalition to defend the right of people living with HIV to serve in the US military.