Jeers From HIV Community Greet Trump's Detailed Budget Proposal
The Trump administration released the first detailed version of its proposed federal budget on May 23. Leading organizations within the HIV community were quick to condemn it.
The full budget proposal for the 2017-2018 fiscal year (summarized in this article from NPR) provides details that had previously only been hinted at in an initial "skinny budget" and subsequent announcements that had been released in March. Those hints were enough, at the time, to lead a number of HIV advocacy groups, including Treatment Action Group and Health GAP, to warn of potentially chilling ramifications for the fight against HIV in the U.S. and abroad.
Now, with the entire proposal available for review, reaction has been swift -- and deeply critical.
HIV Organizations React
From a statement by Treatment Action Group (TAG) titled "TAG Condemns Murderous White House-Proposed 2018 Budget Cuts for Health and Research":
In addition to virtually destroying Medicaid and throwing millions out of health care through the American Health Care Act (AHCA), some of the deadliest and most dangerous of the President’s proposed budget cuts include: ...
- A 20% ($8 billion annual) reduction to research at NIH;
- The entire elimination of the Fogarty International Center, critical in training scientists in HIV and TB research from around the world to combat global health threats;
- A 20% funding cut to CDC-funded HIV prevention programs;
- $59 million in cuts to the Ryan White Program made through the elimination of Part F and Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS).
- Elimination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative (MAI)
- Trimming $700 million from PEPFAR and $225 from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, The New York Times estimates these cuts will cost a million lives;
- Eliminating funding for global health commitments to International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and advancing microbicides research.
From a statement by AIDS United:
AIDS United is shocked by President Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget request released today. It threatens to roll back the progress in the fight against the domestic HIV epidemic. ...
... The deep proposed cuts to domestic HIV and STD prevention cannot be reconciled with the goal of preventing new HIV transmissions and the rising rates of STDs. The proposed $59 million cut to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, coupled with a fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid program capping federal spending for the first time to the tune of a $610 million funding reduction over the next decade, diminishes every community's ability to deliver quality health care to people living with HIV by eliminating AIDS Education and Training Centers and Special Programs of National Significance (SPNS).
From a statement by AVAC:
The budget, entitled "A New Foundation for American Greatness," would, in fact, devastate health, development and research programs that are hallmarks of America’s profound commitment to advancing knowledge and saving lives at home and abroad. AVAC stands in solidarity with many partner organizations in calling on Members of Congress to restate the long-standing bipartisan support for a comprehensive domestic and global AIDS response. ...
... Global health and HIV programs have enjoyed bipartisan support throughout the previous Bush and Obama Administrations. We call on the Congress to remember why these programs have been consistently supported and ensure they are reinstated in the 2018 budget.
From a statement by Health GAP:
"The Trump administration's first budget is a gift to billionaires at the expense of millions of people's lives -- including more than 19 million people with HIV who don't and won't have access to life-saving treatment if this $1 billion cut to global AIDS programs becomes reality," said Asia Russell, Executive Director of Health Global Access Project (Health GAP). "Shame on the Trump administration for showing no regard for people's lives and cutting highly-effective, life-saving programs to the bone."
President Donald Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal includes severe cuts to many HIV and related programs and no increases for hepatitis prevention.
Given that racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, The AIDS Institute was shocked that the budget eliminates the Secretary of Health and Human Services Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) Fund ($54 million). The Secretary's MAI Fund supports cross-agency demonstration initiatives to support HIV prevention, care and treatment, and outreach and education activities. MAI funding was also reduced at SAMHSA by over $17 million.
The budget also cuts $26 million from the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program at HUD. Stable housing plays a vital role in preventing new HIV infections, helping individuals living with HIV adhere to treatment, and reducing the likelihood of HIV-related complications. Current funding is not meeting the growing needs of homeless individuals with HIV. These cuts will certainly increase the number of people living with HIV who will not have stable housing.
As a "network of networks" representing diverse unification of people living with HIV (PLHIV), as well as independent advocates living with HIV, the Caucus asserts that a $59 million cut to the Ryan White Care Act [RW] is unacceptable. The Ryan White Care Act provides critical life-saving services to more than a half million PLHIV, many of whom are among the most vulnerable within our community: those who live in poverty or in rural areas, People of Trans experience, women, the elderly, young people, especially African American men who have sex with men, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, or are otherwise disenfranchised. ...
... The Caucus, including the ex-officio organizations, PWN-USA, The Sero Project, ICW- North American, GNP+ North America, with seats on our Steering Committee, believe in science and evidence-based interventions consistent with HIV epidemiology. When PLHIV can access quality healthcare, we are able to live healthy lives, and virtually eliminate the risk of transmitting HIV to anyone else. Dependence on rhetoric and outdated abstinence only prevention strategies does not reflect our current HIV science based approaches.
"The Trump-Pence Administration's proposed budget would dismantle the public health infrastructure first put in place by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Program in 1965," said Sean Cahill, Ph.D., Director of Health Policy Research at The Fenway Institute. "Black and Latino people, people living with HIV, and children living in poverty experience poorer health and health outcomes than the general population. They rely disproportionately on Medicaid and CHIP. These cuts will be devastating to some of the most vulnerable people in our society." ...
... "This budget proposes a radical rejection of the social compact that has sustained our country for half a century," Cahill added. "It would also undermine important progress we have made in preventing and treating HIV here and in Africa. It casts our most vulnerable people aside and leaves them to fend for themselves without the resources they need to succeed."
From a statement by SIECUS:
"The President's Budget is an affront to the very values of our nation and an attack on our sexual and reproductive health and rights," says Chitra Panjabi, President & CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). ...
... "The President's Budget attacks not only the sexual and reproductive education and health needs of young people, women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and low-income families, but our basic human rights. SIECUS rejects the President's Budget and calls on Congress to do the same."
TheBody.com will continue to update this article as additional statements are released and other HIV community comments are posted.