Ending Viral Hepatitis: Policy Recommendations to End the Silent Epidemic

By Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy & Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

NASTAD Viral Hepatitis Policy AgendaHealth departments are at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to prevent new infections and create systems of care for people living with chronic viral hepatitis. Health departments, however, are at a critical transition point as implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues and more effective treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV) come to market – a transition that requires federal investment in national and state-specific public health infrastructure in order to meet the changing needs of people living with and at-risk of viral hepatitis.

Today, on the first day of the biannual National Viral Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting, NASTAD is releasing a policy agenda to combat viral hepatitis in the U.S. The policy agenda, Breaking the Silence on an Epidemic: Policy Recommendations to End Viral Hepatitis, provides recommendations for policymakers to better equip state and local health departments to provide the basic, core public health services to combat viral hepatitis; increase surveillance, testing and education efforts nationwide; and effectively reach the goals set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other Viral Hepatitis Interagency Working Group members, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Continue reading

Update: Ryan White Program Current Status

By Ann Lefert, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and Bill McColl, AIDS United, Co-Chairs of the Ryan White Work Group, Federal AIDS Policy Partnership

Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP)As Co-Chairs of the Ryan White Work Group, we wanted to provide you with an update on the Ryan White Program. As you know, the current authorization ends on September 30, 2013.  However, there is no “sunset” provision in the legislation.  Therefore even if Congress does not take action, the Ryan White Program will remain a part of the law allowing funding to continue to be appropriated through the annual congressional appropriations process. Continue reading

Action Alert: Urge Congress to Fully Fund Domestic HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Programs

By Emily McCloskey, Manager, Policy and Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

Action: Contact your Senators to ask them to fully fund domestic HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis programs

NHTD 2013 Call In DayThe Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on the bill that funds domestic HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis programs the week of July 7. The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and the larger HIV community are leading a call in day on June 27 to ask the Senate to help prevent further cuts and to fully fund domestic HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis prevention, care, treatment, and research programs. Calls on this issue to individual offices can make a difference. Please send the action alert to your networks and communities. If possible, NASTAD also asks you to reach out to your Senators on June 27, National HIV Testing Day (NTHD), and let them know the importance of HIV and viral hepatitis programs. Continue reading

What the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act Means to Public Health

By Oscar Mairena, Manager, Policy & Legislative Affairs and Viral Hepatitis

Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

This month, Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation, HR1843, the Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage or Allow Legal (REPEAL) HIV Discrimination Act. The REPEAL Act calls for laws and policies that demonstrate a public-health oriented, evidence-based, medically-accurate and contemporary understanding of HIV transmission, risks of transmission based on means of exposure, current health implications of living with HIV and the benefits of treatment and comprehensive support services. Continue reading

Increasing Funding to End the HIV and Viral Hepatitis Epidemics

By Oscar Mairena and Emily McCloskey, Managers of Policy & Legislative Affairs

­­­­­President's FY2014 BudgetAs we begin to see the effects of the sequester on public health programs nationwide, it becomes increasingly clear that we must increase funding for HIV and viral hepatitis programs in FY2014 and onward in order to truly end these epidemics and improve the nation’s health. In light of this need, NASTAD has released fact sheets with recommendations for FY2014 health department HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis program funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Continue reading