CDC Needs Increased Funding for HIV Prevention Efforts, Advocates SayCDC needs a $600 million increase in funding for effective HIV/AIDS prevention and surveillance programs, advocates said Monday at a briefing hosted by the AIDS Institute to assess the agency's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the U.S., CQ HealthBeat reports. The $600 million increase would nearly double CDC's current HIV/AIDS prevention budget, CQ HealthBeat reports.
According to Julie Scofield, executive director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, CDC's HIV prevention and surveillance programs account for 3% of all federal HIV/AIDS funding. NASTAD members spend about 50% of the agency's $692 million domestic HIV prevention funding, according to CQ HealthBeat. Scofield said that HIV cases decreased by nearly 75% as CDC's budget increased between the late 1980s and early 1990s but that new cases remained stagnant when funding increases were halted.
According to CQ HealthBeat, CDC publishes 49 targeted "interventions" aimed at reducing the risk of HIV among specific groups, and state and localities apply for money to institute the interventions. Four of the 49 interventions target men who have sex with men of all races, even though this group accounted for 71% of new HIV cases among men in 2005. Forty-three percent of the interventions target women, who accounted for 26% of new cases in 2006, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Currently, there are no established interventions for black and Hispanic MSM, female prison inmates, crystal methamphetamine users, commercial sex workers, veterans, people older than age 50 and homeless people. Carl Schmid, director of federal affairs for the AIDS Institute, said that a lack of funding has undermined CDC's efforts to establish more interventions.
Some advocates at the forum "roundly criticized" the Bush administration and Congress for neglecting to fund needle-exchange programs and prison-based programs, as well as for diverting money to programs such as abstinence-only education, CQ HealthBeat reports. The panel also criticized how funds are distributed through the Ryan White Program. Scofield noted that recent modifications in the law have forced CDC to shift $30 million in HIV funding to mother-to-child HIV transmission efforts, which already receive money from other grant programs.
"We're holding the epidemic at bay," Majorie Hill, CEO of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, said, adding, "The only way we're going to make a real dent is allocating realistic resources." Officials from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which oversees HIV/AIDS funding, were not available for comment (Walker, CQ HealthBeat, 5/12).
A Webcast of the event is available online at kaisernetwork.org.
In addition, C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" on Monday included a discussion with Schmid about the forum and U.S. HIV/AIDS policy ("Washington Journal," C-SPAN, 5/12). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.