spacerGive Online Today! Forward  |  Unsubscribe  |  View in Browserspacer

Policy Update 8-12-2011
In This Issue...

AIDS United
spacer
Debt Ceiling/Deficit Reduction Wrap-Up
HIV Criminalization Bill Considered for Introduction
HIV/AIDS Caucus Forming
Enter your title
spacer

Debt Ceiling/Deficit Reduction Wrap-Up

Picture

Much has happened in the week since the historic Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed that allowed the United States to avoid defaulting on its financial obligations for the first time:

  • Our four Congressional leaders, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have selected the 12 members for the bi-partisan joint select committee, or “super congress” as it has been dubbed, to produce a proposal to reduce the deficit by an additional  $1.5 trillion.  
  • Stocks markets around the world have fluctuated wildly due to the worsening economic situation in Europe, Standard and Poor’s lowering the U.S.’s credit rating from triple A to AA+,  the announcement from the Federal Reserve that it will keep interest rates near zero until 2013, and media reports that  the possibility of a double-dip recession is  real , if still  unlikely.  The two other major credit rating agencies continue to give the U.S. a triple A credit rating.

Looking Out into the Horizon…
While the fall-out from the debt ceiling increase debate continues, HIV/AIDS advocates will need to be especially aware of two issues that are coming down the pike:

  • The work of the “super congress”: The Budget Control Act (BCA) is structured in a way that will ensure that the greater share of deficit reduction will occur after 2013 and much of that will depend on the outcome of the joint select committee, which has been charged with producing a plan by November 23. Domestic HIV/AIDS programs will potentially be affected by any spending cuts the committee recommends and Congress enacts. A critical factor will be whether the committee is willing and able to include revenue growth in its proposal that would avoid the need for devastating spending cuts. The make-up of the committee suggests that there will be a vigorous debate over whether spending cuts and drastic changes to entitlement programs is the only approach to deficit reduction or whether revenue growth must be included. AIDS United urges everyone to remain aware of these ongoing discussions and to look out for AIDS United’s calls to action that will urge members of the “super congress” to find a balanced way to deficit reduction that includes revenue increases and does not disproportionately cut funding that impacts HIV/AIDS programs, entitlement programs, and other low-income safety net programs.
  • Who gets the money in FY 2012??: Soon, the  appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY 12) will resume. The first phase of spending cuts that were outlined in the Budget Control Act will begin to become visible soon. We need to fight for funding levels for domestic HIV/AIDS programs that will not jeopardize the health of people living with the disease or vulnerable to HIV infection. AIDS United will keep you updated and encourages you to be engaged on this issue.

AIDS United on the Frontlines
AIDS United has been active throughout the debt ceiling debate in order to protect programs that serve people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), including:

Further Reading
There have been many great resources produced in the wake of the debt ceiling debate that help explain the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the deal that was ultimately reached. Here are a few:

spacer

back to top

HIV Criminalization Bill Considered for Introduction

Picture

Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) appears to be taking steps to ready a bill seeking to redress issues around the criminalization of HIV/AIDS.  Laws that create enhanced penalties or criminalize HIV exposure through sex, shared needles, and even in some cases for spitting (despite the fact that there are no known cases of transmission by saliva) have long stigmatized people living with HIV.  The purpose of a federal bill would be to bring resources and attention to ensuring that both state and federal laws do not place unique burdens on people living with HIV and that all laws conform to the latest science and understanding of HIV/AIDS transmission.  Representative Lee, who has long been interested in this topic,  is also a member of The Global Commission on HIV and the Law, which will likely make recommendations on this issue as well.  The bill may be introduced as early as September.

To learn more about HIV/AIDS criminalization, please visit The Positive Justice Project website for additional information.

spacer

back to top

HIV/AIDS Caucus Forming

Picture

Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ), announced that they would be holding a press conference at the Capitol on September 8th at 10:30 a.m. to announce the re-launch of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus.  The three representatives are listed as the caucus co-chairs.  AIDS United welcomes this development, since the bipartisan group will have the ability to bring an additional focus to both the domestic and global HIV/AIDS epidemic.  The caucus has previously focused almost solely on global issues and maintained a relatively low profile in recent years.  The caucus’s announcement, less than a year in front of the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C., seems to signal a renewed interest in the topic despite ongoing concerns about funding for HIV prevention, treatment and research.

spacer

back to top

Enter your title

Picture

National HIV Prevention Conference
The 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference will be held August 14-17 in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Marriott Marquis hotels.

The 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference is taking place just a little more than a year after the release of President Obama's National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The conference organizers are committed to ensuring that this conference contributes to achieving the three primary goals defined in that plan:

• Reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV;
• Increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV; and
• Reducing HIV-related health disparities.

AIDS United will be represented by 8 staff members as well as President and CEO, Mark Ishaug, at the conference.

Where Should ARV-based Strategies be on the HIV Prevention Map?
The results of recent clinical trials demonstrate that anti-retroviral based prevention strategies hold great promise for ending the HIV epidemic, while simultaneously raising important and challenging questions for the HIV community. Help inform how ARV-based prevention strategies are used across the world by joining AIDS United and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago at the National HIV Prevention Conference, Monday, August 15 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Hyatt Regency Hotel Roswell Room, to share your perspectives and concerns in this facilitated open discussion. Email zfellows1@aidsunited.org to RSVP.

HIV+ gay and bi men! Sign-on letter supporting an informed debate about PrEP based on facts, not misinformation

Sign on to the letter here!

The release of data from the iPrEx study of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention in gay and bisexual men and transgender women has led to a good deal of debate about whether and how PrEP should be used. Unfortunately, some of that debate has been fueled by misrepresentations of the study data and, perhaps more alarmingly, by groundless assertions that gay/bi men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) will misuse PrEP, spread drug resistance and act without regard to their health or the health of others if PrEP is made available.

A small group of HIV positive gay/bi men who are committed to promoting safer sex and the open exchange of accurate information are circulating the following letter to help clarify the facts about PrEP, open up community discussion and make clear our belief that we are entitled to respect, accurate information and new HIV prevention tools.

Sign on to the letter here!

This sign on letter is part of a broad array of advocacy activities being undertaken by the national PrEP Committee. Members of the PrEP Committee include individuals from a host of organizations working on PrEP and other new prevention technologies who meet regularly by phone and email to share information and strategize. For allies who are not HIV+ gay/bi men, you can learn more about this work and how to participate by sending an email to Jim Pickett at jpickett@aidschicago.org.

We encourage HIV+ gay/bi men who are allied in the fight against AIDS to help us clear the record about PrEP by signing on to this letter.

Sign on to show support for increased funding for ADAP in Fiscal Year 2012!

State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) across the country are in crisis.   Nearly 9,000 individuals are on wait lists and many states have instituted cost-containment measures such as reduced formularies and enrollment caps.  Join the ADAP Coalition's letter to Senate Appropriators calling for a $106 million increase in FY2012 to help alleviate this crisis.  Please email Daniella Yaloz at dyaloz@nastad.org by Wednesday, August 24th to add your organization.

spacer

back to top

spacer