Activist Victory: PrEP4All, AVAC, HIVMA, and the PrEP In Black America Coalition Applaud Senate Proposal to Increase Key HIV Funding, Build National PrEP Program
For Immediate Release
Friday, July 28, 2023
For Media Inquiries, contact Michael Chancley at email@example.com.
Soundly rejecting House efforts to gut HIV funding, yesterday the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee released its FY24 spending bill which clearly reflects concerted efforts by PrEP activists over the past few months to prioritize support for a national PrEP program. The Senate bill would allocate $616 million in funding for the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE), including a $3 million increase to CDC that specifically “support[s] the building blocks for a national program to increase…PrEP(pg. 60).”
PrEP4All, in partnership with AVAC, HIVMA, and the PrEP In Black America coalition launched the #PrEPSaves Campaign to push back on shortsighted efforts in the House to slash funding for HIV and PrEP. Highlights of the campaign included a letter campaign targeting Congressional appropriators and videos from individuals who have encountered challenges to accessing PrEP, including misinformation, lack of public awareness, coverage for labs and provider visits, and stigma.
Within four days of launching this campaign, well over 3,000 letters were sent from community members representing nearly every state in the US. The ongoing campaign calls on representatives in Congress to include funding for a National PrEP Program as part of FY24 appropriations, as well as an increase in Ending the HIV Epidemic funds. Yesterday’s news indicates that Senate appropriators received the message loud and clear.
HIV advocates are also actively planning a September 5th rally in front of the Senate and additional advocacy to firmly make the point that any cuts to HIV programs will be met with harsh resistance.
“We at PrEP4All want to thank every single organizational partner who lifted up this campaign and every individual who took the time to send in letters. You made a difference at a key moment in the fight to End HIV as an Epidemic and establish a National PrEP Program,” said Jeremiah Johnson, Executive Director of PrEP4All. “The threat posed to our movement is far from over, however, and we will need to keep the momentum all the way through to the end of the appropriations process.”
Advocates are looking for Congress to build on progress towards ending the HIV epidemic at a crucial time when disparities in PrEP uptake continue to widen. The #PrEPSaves campaign specifically states that “of the 1.2 million individuals estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be most in need of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) only 11% of Black individuals and 20% of Latinx people had accessed it by 2021 compared to 78% of White individuals.”
“Each new HIV acquisition in the United States leads to more than $500,000 in lifetime health care costs while a year of generic PrEP medication can cost less than $240 per year under a National PrEP Program,” explains Michael Chancley, PrEP4All’s Communications and Mobilization Manager. “The #PrEPSaves campaign was launched to highlight that PrEP can save lives, but also save costs.”
“We need our champions in Congressional appropriations to keep stepping up and pushing hard against any proposed cuts.” says John Meade, Senior Program Manager of Policy at AVAC. “At a time when we have the tools to scale up PrEP access and end the HIV epidemic, gutting HIV funding would be a shortsighted, unprecedented, and incredibly dangerous move by Congress that would cost our nation and our communities dearly.”
Fighting the impact of the HIV epidemic, especially among marginalized groups, has long been a bipartisan effort, and the Senate’s strong support for EHE and a National PrEP Program demonstrates that this continues to be true. The Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative, which seeks to end new HIV transmissions by 2030, was launched in 2019 under the Republican administration and has continued to receive support and leadership from the current administration. EHE efforts cite increases in PrEP uptake as key to reaching 2030 goals. Congress must now pass the Senate version of this bill and must not allow partisan politics to shut down the government.
Even though the letter campaign reached its goal of 3,000 letters in less than a week, PrEP4All, HIVMA, AVAC, and PrEP In Black America continue to urge advocates to send letters to their representatives in Congress to support a National PrEP Program and to increase Ending the HIV Epidemic funds. Take action now by visting https://actionnetwork.org/letters/nationalprepprogram?source=direct_link&.