AIDS Action Network Fax
July 11, 1997
CDC to release new AIDS deaths data at first national State of AIDS Forum. Is there a downward trend?
AIDS Action next week will convene the first national forum on the state of the AIDS epidemic in the context of promising new AIDS drug therapies and declining death rates. The July 14 AIDS Action State of AIDS Forum will open with the release of new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on AIDS mortality in the United States. AIDS experts are anxiously awaiting the CDC's release of these figures to determine whether the historic drop in AIDS deaths announced last year has continued. AIDS experts and people with HIV/AIDS from across the country will then announce the results of studies detailing the changing face of the epidemic and discuss the challenges facing communities that continue to grapple with AIDS. The forum brings together chief executive officers of the nation's leading AIDS service providers, Clinton administration officials, public health and AIDS policy experts, clinicians, and people with HIV/AIDS. The forum begins at 9 a.m., Monday, July 14, in the National Press Club's Main Ballroom. For other media queries, call José Zuñiga at (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3042.
Senate subcommittee votes to repeal FASA and its vital AIDS drug purchasing program.The Senate Treasury and General Government Subcommittee today voted to repeal the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA). Under FASA, state and local agencies could purchase products and services - including prescription drugs - at reduced prices that are currently available only to federal agencies. A compromise agreed to earlier this month by a House-Senate Conference Committee resulted in a moratorium on FASA's implementation through the end of this session of Congress. The moratorium was put in place in hopes that hearings on FASA could be held over the summer. The hearings would allow consumers and representatives of state and local governments an opportunity to speak to the merits of the program. However, the hearings did not happen. The Senate Appropriations Committee is set to mark-up the fiscal year 1998 Treasury and General Government appropriations bill on Tuesday, July 15. In the meantime, AIDS Action will continue to fight against FASA's repeal because FASA could allow beleaguered AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), public hospitals, and state and local health departments the opportunity to purchase AIDS drugs at up to a 40 percent discount. State ADAPs face a budget shortfall of $132 million this fiscal year.
AIDS Action calls on Clinton administration to eliminate federal needle exchange restrictions.More than a week after the American Medical Association (AMA) joined scientists, community leaders, and AIDS advocates in calling for the elimination of restrictions on the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs, there is no sign that that may happen any time soon. Indeed, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Donna Shalala's authority to eliminate the restrictions could itself be eliminated by Congress. The AMAs announcement, made June 27 at its annual meeting in Chicago, came three days after the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a bipartisan resolution urging Shalala to allow science to guide policy-making around the needle exchange issue. Congress has imposed two conditions for the release of federal funds for needle exchange programs -- that they are proved effective means of curbing HIV transmission, and that they do not contribute to increased drug use. Six federally funded reports, including an HHS report released this year, have concluded that needle exchange programs should be a component of HIV prevention, and that there is no compelling evidence of increased drug use in communities where needle exchange programs currently operate. AIDS Action urges Shalala to certify that the congressionally imposed conditions have been met.
Media queries related to AIDSfax items should be made to José Zuñiga, (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3042. All other queries should be made to Kurt Schade, (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3060.
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.