A group of U.S. Senators recently called on Senate leadership to include federal funding for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and housing programs in the next coronavirus pandemic response package.
Specifically, the Senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), are asking for $500 million for HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program; $100 million for CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention; $65 million for HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) Program; and $58 million for CDC’s Infectious Disease and Opioid Program and Ending the Ban on Federal Funding for Syringe Service Programs.
“This additional support for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and housing programs is critical for ensuring that we can respond to two different pandemics that have impacted millions of Americans. Thank you for your leadership in our nation’s response to COVID-19 as well as your long-standing support of people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS,” the Senators wrote to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
The letter was also signed by Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a huge burden on a public health system that was already struggling to meet the needs of people living with and at risk of HIV,” said Stephen Lee, Executive Director of NASTAD. “We are grateful for the support Congress has already provided. We hope they will build on this support by adopting Senator Baldwin’s proposal for additional funding for HIV/AIDS diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and housing programs in the next COVID-19 response.”
The HIV Medicine Association, AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition, National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), and The AIDS Institute all voiced their support for the bill.