Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama’s Budget Proposal Expands HIV Prevention, Remains Silent on Syringes

via AIDS Foundation of Chicago

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the 2010 fiscal year calls for nominal housing and HIV-related funding increases and no action to reverse the decades-old ban on federal funding for evidence-based syringe-exchange services.

The president’s plan seeks a $54 million increase (2.4 percent) for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment programs, a $443 million increase (1.5 percent) for HIV/AIDS biomedical research coordinated at the National Institutes of Health, funding increases for Section 8, which benefits tens of thousands of low-income and disabled families in metropolitan Chicago, and an initial appropriation for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to increase the nation’s stock of affordable housing.

Housing is Health

The Journal of the American Medical Association this week highlights the merits of an innovative supportive housing program the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) spearheaded to better meet the needs of homeless individuals with chronic medical conditions, including HIV. Given this new evidence of effectiveness, AFC is disappointed to learn the president’s budget does not seek increased funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

“We now have empirical evidence that supportive housing is instrumental in stabilizing chronically ill homeless individuals in cost-effective outpatient medical care,” said AFC President/CEO Mark Ishaug. “Supportive and stable housing is not only humane but also a rational and cost-effective approach to achieve the best health outcomes for chronically ill homeless individuals. We hope the Obama Administration and Congress embrace these new findings and expand HOPWA and other supportive housing programs.”

HIV Prevention

The President's $3.55 trillion budget includes a $53 million increase for domestic HIV prevention and surveillance programs funded through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The proposed 7.7 percent funding increase departs from previous budgets that either flat-funded or reduced domestic HIV prevention services. The proposal responds to CDC research unveiled last year indicating that 56,000 individuals become HIV-infected each year, a 40 percent increase over the previous estimate.

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