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

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

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

Restoring Federal Emergency Relief Funding for HIV/AIDS Programs

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

Sign on LetterThe HIV/AIDS community is organizing a sign-on letter to the President urging him to immediately redirect $35 million to the state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) and $10 million to Ryan White Part C programs in FY2013 in order to ensure continuation of care and treatment for thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS.  This funding was not included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the federal government for the rest of FY2013. Continue reading

Call in Day to Support ADAP and Ryan White Part C Emergency Relief Funding

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

Call in Day to Support ADAP and Ryan White Part C Emergency Relief FundingACTION: Tell Senators Reid, Mikulski and Shelby to continue critical HIV funding in the FY 13 funding bill.

The $35 million for ADAP Emergency Relief Funding (ERF) awards and $10 million for Ryan White Part C, that President Obama announced on World AIDS Day 2011, is not currently included in the Continuing Resolution (CR) being considered by the Senate that will fund the government for the remainder of FY2013. This funding is currently awarded to 14 states and one territory (AL, AK, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MT, NE, NJ, SD, TN, WA, WI, VI). If this anomaly is not corrected, this funding will not be available for states and Part C clinics during FY2013. If funds aren’t restored, it could lead to an estimated 7,920 clients being removed from ADAP and many Part C funded HIV clinics reducing services and closing their doors to new patients. Continue reading