The Future of Health Department HIV and Hepatitis Programs

By Dawn Fukuda, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and NASTAD Chair (Incoming)

Dawn Fakuda

Dawn Fukuda, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and NASTAD Chair

For perhaps the first time in history, the end of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis is within our reach. Recent notable achievements provide promise for success, among them the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (VHAP) and the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Collectively, these achievements have catalyzed the beginning of a radical transformation in our healthcare systems for communities impacted by HIV and hepatitis. In particular, the ACA represents an opportunity for the country to expand access to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis prevention, medical care, and health promotion services in profound and impactful ways. The systems-level changes advanced in the legislation also require state health departments to reassess their role in the context of an evolving health care system and the other sources of financing that may become available to support what have historically been public health functions—this is particularly the case for HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis prevention and care services. Continue reading

The Year in Review: A Reflection on the Challenges Health Department HIV and Hepatitis Programs Faced over the Last Year

By Randy Mayer, Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis, Iowa Department of Public Health and NASTAD Chair (Outgoing)

Randy Mayer, Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis, Iowa Department of Public Health

Randy Mayer, Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis, Iowa Department of Public Health

As I began my tenure as NASTAD’s Chair in May 2012, state health department HIV and viral hepatitis programs were trying to understand and react to the impact of the funding redistributions brought about by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ (CDC) HIV prevention funding opportunity announcement 12-1201. At the same time, we were just learning about the possibility of fiscal sequestration, set to begin in early 2013. NASTAD’s analysis pointed to the potential for an overall 8.2 percent cut to HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis programs that would severely impact ADAP enrollment and critical prevention, surveillance and viral hepatitis programming. The cuts would be especially devastating at a time when ending HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis is within our reach. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Viral Hepatitis Action Plan provide roadmaps for reducing new infections and increasing access to care, but these cuts mean we may never be able to realize these goals. Continue reading