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AIDS Action Weekly Update

May 16, 2002


This Week in Washington

AIDS Action Raises Concerns Regarding HHS Prevention Week

In a letter sent to PACHA Co-chairs Dr. Tom Coburn and Dr. Louis Sullivan AIDS Action raised serious concerns that during the "Prevention Week" recently sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, held April 30 to May 6, 2002, the Department carried out a series of events promoting disease prevention and health promotion, but HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), were not included. While promoting the President's new pilot program, "Healthy Communities," and reporting that HHS intends to spend over $16 billion in disease prevention activities, Secretary Thompson and the Department failed to mention HIV/AIDS, a disease that is disproportionately affecting youth, woman, communities of color and low-income Americans.

Member Action Requested to Support Comprehensive Prevention

The House is expected to consider today (May 16) the House leadership's welfare reauthorization legislation. Currently, the legislation extends the life of section 510 for an additional 5 years. Section 510 provides $50 million annually in grants to states to support abstinence-only education programs. Not surprisingly, member efforts in committee were unsuccessful in expanding the provision to give states greater flexibility in funding comprehensive sexuality education and prevention programs. The Senate HELP Committee is now drafting a letter and set of guiding principles regarding welfare reauthorization that will be shared with the Senate Finance Committee, as well as other key Senators working on the reauthorization legislation. It is critical that members of the Senate HELP Committee hear from their constituents and the HIV/AIDS community on the importance of this correspondence communicating the committee's strong support for state flexibility in section 510. AIDS Action is currently working with Senate and committee offices on this important issue impacting HIV prevention efforts. http://www.senate.gov/%7Elabor/.

AIDS Action Applauds Kerry Frist Global HIV/AIDS Legislation

On Wednesday, May 15, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Bill Frist (R-TN) introduced the "US Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2002." This bipartisan bill will increase the US government's funding of international HIV/AIDS efforts from approximately $1.7 billion in 2003 to $1.9 billion in 2004. This is the first step in a much-needed comprehensive answer to the global HIV/AIDS crisis from the US government. The bill also calls for a five-year strategy, developed by the US, to reduce the spread of HIV worldwide. Original cosponsors of the bill include Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Gordon Smith (R-OR). For further information: www.aidsaction.org.

AIDS Action Attends Institute of Medicine Second Public Meeting on Data for Planning, Evaluation and Resource Allocation for Ryan White

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Ryan White CARE Act, held a second round of public meetings on Wednesday May 15 in Washington DC. This set of meetings specifically examined Title I and State perspectives with regard to utilization of HIV surveillance data for planning, resource allocation, and evaluation of programs as required by amendments to the 2000 Reauthorization of Ryan White. Much of the discussions focused on the need for a funding formula for Ryan White dollars that is equitable and based on current HIV statistics. Many individuals expressed the need for the formula to be simple and suggested that distribution of funds be based on HIV prevalence and/or living AIDS cases. Several states reported their experiences with establishing HIV surveillance systems and both the challenges and successes they have had in implementing various systems. Additionally, evaluation components of the reauthorization amendments were discussed. Concerns were raised about the variation and substantially different reporting requirements that community-based organizations face in reporting data to funding sources. The committee will review and discuss the public comments in a private meeting before holding two additional meetings on the west coast later this year. For more information on the committee or future meetings: http://www.iom.edu/iom/iomhome.nsf/pages/Ryan+White+CARE+Act.

AIDSWatch 2002 -- Grassroots Participation Needed From Key States

Preparation for AIDSWatch 2002 -- June 9-11 in Washington, DC -- is well underway. To date, over 600 registrations have been received at the AIDSWatch office. Strong grassroots participation in AIDSWatch can have a significant impact on the appropriations process. While all members of Congress play an important role in the appropriations process, among the most important Senators and Representatives to reach during AIDSWatch are the members of the Senate and House Labor-Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees. For more information about AIDSWatch 2002 registration information: www.aidsaction.org or you can contact Darin Johnson at AIDS Action: 202-530-8030 x3024, djohnson@aidsaction.org.

AIDS Action Convenes May NORA Meeting

On Monday, May 13, the National Organizations Responding to AIDS (NORA) coalition held its monthly meeting. The featured topic for this month was an update on global AIDS issues. Philippa J. Lawson from the Academy for Educational Development, Center for Community-Based Health Strategies presented on the recent board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, which she had attended. Michelle Sumilas from the Global Health Council updated the group on the activities of USAID as well as providing a general overview of the projects with which the NORA International Issues Working Group is currently involved. Also at the meeting the coalition held a special election to replace two members of the NORA Executive Committee who had recently stepped down. The newest members of the NORA Executive Committee are Laura Hanen of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and Michelle Sumilas of the Global Health Council. In addition, NORA is putting the finishing touches on its FY 2003 Appropriations recommendations, which will be available in time for AIDSWatch in early June. For more information about NORA, please contact Jessica Tytel, NORA Coordinator: jtytel@aidsaction.org.

Women's Health Week

Beginning on Mothers Day, May 12 and continuing through Saturday, May 18, the Office on Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with national organizations are encouraging individuals, health professionals, advocacy groups, and local governments to raise awareness about women's health. There are a lot of events going on around the nation to work to improve women's health. You can visit www.dhhs.gov women's bureau for a look at some of the projects planned.


In the News

U.S. Health Care Quality Falls Short on Crucial Measures

A new chart book by The Commonwealth Fund documents serious gaps in health care quality on many crucial dimensions. Lack of preventive care, medical mistakes, substandard care for chronic conditions, and disparities in care are among the issues examined in this comprehensive study. Based on more than 150 published studies and reports, the work contains 54 charts and accompanying analysis that provide a first-of-its-kind portrait of the state of health care quality in the United States. Quality of Health Care in the United States: A Chart Book, by Sheila Leatherman of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and Douglas McCarthy of Argus Insights, also includes a unique section on successful examples of collaborative projects that have led to improvement. To learn more: http://www.cmwf.org/index.asp.

CDC Announces Possible Shortage of HIV-1 Testing Kits

On Friday, May 10, the Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report (MMWR), printed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced that the Calypte Biomedical Corporation in Alameda, California is planning to cease production of the Cambridge Biotech HIV-1 Western blot kit. Supplemental tests are used to verify a result in a previous HIV test that showed the existence of HIV antibodies. By utilizing serum, plasma, and dried whole-blood spot specimens, these tests can verify the existence of the HIV specific proteins in the blood. These tests are used in both patients and blood donors. The Cambridge kit is one of only two kits of this kind licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To read the entire article from the MMWR: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5118a4.htm.

Depressive Disorder High Among HIV-Positive Women

On Friday, May 10, Reuters reported on a study showing that US women who are HIV-positive have higher rates of major depressive disorder and more symptoms of depression and anxiety compared with women who are not infected with HIV. Conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the study of 93 HIV-positive women and 62 HIV-negative "controls" showed that depressive disorder was four times higher among HIV-positive women (18 of 93, 19.4%) compared with HIV-negative women (3 of 62, 4.8%).

New SPNS Grant Initiative Announced for Information Technology in HIV Care

The Health Resources Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) Offices have announced a new grant opportunity under the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) initiative. In a collaborative process with the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ), these grants will seek to improve the impact and quality of care for people living with HIV through Information Technology. The grant program, operated through the AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs) evaluates the effectiveness of Information Technology (IT) to improve the delivery and quality of care to underserved HIV infected individuals. There are three areas of emphasis: (1) optimizing the delivery of health care; (2) optimizing outcomes and quality of health care; and (3) assessing the cost-effectiveness of IT interventions. Grants will be awarded for a four-year period and the application deadline is June 12, 2002. For more information: http://hab.hrsa.gov/grants/itguidancefinal.htm.

New Community-Based Dental Partnership Grant Initiative Announced

The Health Resources Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) Offices have announced a new grant opportunity under the Dental Reimbursement Program. These grant opportunities are designed to increase the access to oral health care for people living with HIV in community-based settings, and to provide support, education and training of students and residents enrolled in accredited dental education programs while providing care for people living with HIV under the supervision of a dentist in a community based setting. Funds will be awarded to up to 20 institutions including dental schools, post-doctorate programs and schools of dental hygiene for up to three years. Preference for funding will be given to proposals advocating partnerships in un-served and underserved communities and in areas where HIV positive populations have unmet oral health needs. Applications are encouraged from organizations that utilize multi-partner community-based collaborations and develop innovative programs. The application deadline for the Community-Based Dental Partnership grants is June 14, 2002. For more information: http://hab.hrsa.gov/grants/dental02.htm.

HIV/AIDS-Related Cable Programming Funding Available From Cable Positive

Cable Positive, which seeks to use the resources of the cable industry to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and compassion, makes funds available through its Tony Cox Fund for Local HIV/AIDS Programming to fund the production of HIV/AIDS-related cable programming, including public service announcements. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, with special consideration given to AIDS service organizations and cable systems and producers partnering with them. Grants range from $500 to $20,000. Applications are due June 7. For more information: http://www.cablepositive.org/programs-tonycox.html or contact Jesse Giuliani at 212-459-1547 or jesse@cablepositive.org.

CDC Updates Mortality Slide Set

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for HIV, STD & TB Prevention Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention has updated their Mortality slide set through 2000. It is available in PowerPoint and PDF versions at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/graphics/mortalit.htm. This presentation may be helpful in your work.

Supplemental Appropriations Bill Moving Slowly

The FY02 emergency supplemental appropriations bill is moving very slowly thorough the House of Representatives. The House Appropriations Committee failed to complete its consideration of the bill on Tuesday night. During committee mark-up of the $29.4 billion spending bill, an amendment offered by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) to increase US global AIDS funding by $500 million was defeated by a vote of 33-29. The funding bill currently includes $200 million for the Global AIDS Fund. The emergency spending measure is expected to move to the House floor for consideration next week. Advocacy efforts are now focused on the Senate, which is expected to begin committee consideration of a similar measure after the Memorial Day recess. Advocates are also pushing for emergency funding to address growing shortfalls in state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) in addition to the funding for the Global AIDS Fund. One likely inclusion in the supplemental will be to increase the statutory debt limit for the United States from $5.95 trillion to $6.7 trillion. Treasury Secretary O'Neill explained that the United States would be in default on June 28 if it were not raised.


AIDS Action Board Member Highlight

The AIDS Action Council Board of Directors consists of local HIV/AIDS service providers throughout the United States. Each week, the Update will highlight one of these service providers and the work they are doing to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their region.

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AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, Inc. (AVOC) is a community-based organization serving thirteen counties in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. During the past year, the Client Services Department of AVOC provided services to over 1,000 people infected and affected by HIV. http://www.avoc.org/.




  
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council. It is a part of the publication AIDS Action Weekly Update.
 

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