VICTORY: Congress Urges CDC to Expand Equitable National PrEP Access
December 19th, 2022
Media Contact: Jeremiah Johnson, 303-910-9330, Jeremiah@PrEP4All.org
Washington D.C.- Heeding the calls of PrEP4All, community advocates, and the Biden Administration, today Congress included as part of its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget a call for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand equitable national PrEP access in order to end the HIV epidemic. The announcement follows the inclusion of a National PrEP Program in President Biden’s FY 2023 budget request in March and several months of community advocacy which included sign on letters from hundreds of leading HIV/AIDS organizations, thousands of constituent signatures and letters sent to Congress and the Administration, and even a letter from Sir Elton John to key political leaders.
“The Committee notes the importance of expanding HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) nationally to improve access to medications and essential support services, community and provider outreach, to make progress towards ending the HIV epidemic,” Congress stated in House report language (pg. 72) that will inform the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bill.
“We need a National PrEP Program now,” says Jeremiah Johnson, Acting Executive Director of PrEP4All. “This directive, along with essential increases to the bipartisan Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, open a vital pathway forward for equitable PrEP access. Advocates are just warming up, and in the next year we will ensure that the design and implementation of a National PrEP Program centers marginalized communities.”
A decade after FDA approval, and with only a quarter of those estimated by the CDC to be most in need of PrEP having received a prescription by 2020, advocates say that the language provided by Congress along with increases in funding to CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention will allow for a necessary down payment on a national program, although Congress will need to go further in spending for FY 2024.
“Only 9% of Black and 16% of Latinx individuals most in need of PrEP had access in 2020 compared to 66% of White people, so we have a long way to go to get to equity.” says Michael Chancley, Communications and Mobilization Manager for PrEP4All. “Although advocates already have a plan and recommendations on how to best leverage resources for these communities, in FY 2024 we will need additional support from Congress to make this a truly national program. We’re extremely grateful for champions like Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Senator Tammy Baldwin who we know will keep this a priority going forward.”