The Federal AIDS Policy Project Coalition and Prep4All have sent a letter, signed by 100 organizations, urging the House and Senate appropriations committees to approve $400 million to fund a national PrEP program within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While this is far short of the $9.8 billion over 10 years that President Joe Biden called for in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, it's a meaningful start and something that HIV/AIDS advocates believe can be accomplished this year.A markup in Congress is scheduled for June 23, and we urge the appropriations committees to approve this funding allocation.Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV and Hepatitis Policy Initiative in Washington, D.C., told us that a national PrEP program would lessen disparities among Black and Brown people that have been ongoing since the advent of PrEP nearly 10 years ago.
As most readers know, PrEP, when taken as prescribed, is extremely effective in preventing HIV transmission. It's now available as both a daily oral pill as well as a longer-acting injectable. "Expanding PrEP use is essential in our nation's work to end the HIV epidemic," the letter states.The funding would allow the CDC's Division of HIV Prevention to provide grants to health clinics and other centers for the purchase of medications, cover costs of labs, and fund essential support services such as counseling, linkage, and adherence service, the letter stated.
Schmid said that funding to cover lab services and to ramp up participating doctors is critical in part because not all of the organizations are community health centers.