In 2019, former President Donald Trump announced a plan with support from both parties to effectively eliminate the transmission of HIV in the United States by 2030. However, House Republicans are currently considering significant reductions to the program. | Photo taken by Doug Mills and provided by the Pool.
By Evan Peng
Based on data from the CDC’s America’s HIV Epidemic Analysis Dashboard, the targets set by the program seem to be unattainable: 9,500 new cases projected for 2025 and approximately 3,800 for 2030.
Despite progress, significant differences still exist.
Preliminary data from the CDC reveals that nearly 40 percent of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in 2022 were in Black individuals, and over 30 percent were in Latino individuals. In contrast, 94 percent of white individuals who could benefit have been prescribed PrEP, while the percentage for Black individuals is less than 13 percent and for Latino individuals is less than 25 percent.
The proposed cuts were justified by Republicans due to these discrepancies. According to the House Appropriations report, the program lacks performance data indicating outcomes, has inadequate budget justifications, and vague expenditure plans. The initiative has failed to achieve its initial goals.
Advocates believe the program’s shortcomings can be overcome with dedication from Congress. They also highlight the success of the program by noting that infection rates have decreased at a quicker pace in the 50 designated counties and 7 designated states compared to the rest of the country.
Johnson, of PrEP4ALL, stated that removing the funds will not provide a solution and will only cause any progress that has been made to be undone in the near future.
Currently, the HIV program is facing a stagnant budget in the near future. This is due to the lack of consensus among Congress regarding spending bills for fiscal year 2024. A deadline of November 17th looms, requiring action to be taken. The most probable course of action is implementing a continuing resolution to maintain funding at the levels of fiscal year 2023.
In July, the House Appropriations subcommittee approved the proposed reductions. However, the complete committee has not yet reviewed the bill, let alone the entire House.
New Speaker Mike Johnson
The goal is to bring the bill to a vote on the floor during the week of November 11, bypassing the full committee.
The bill proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee was approved in July, however, it has yet to be voted on by the entire Senate.
Currently, supporters are getting ready for discussions between the Senate and House, which may not happen until next year, as their chance to present their argument.
A group of groups is strategizing a large-scale media campaign for World AIDS Day on December 1st in order to effectively convey their message. They are informing budget-focused members of the Republican Party that investing in the program, particularly the HIV prevention aspect, will ultimately result in government cost savings in the future.
They are relying on this argument, along with the endorsement of Trump, to persuade GOP votes.
David Stacy, the director of government affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, the top advocacy organization for LGBTQ rights in the country, expressed confidence that progress will continue in this area. He believes that the goal of ending the epidemic of LGBTQ discrimination in the United States is achievable, which was not always the case in the past.