Trans women of color among af­fected groups

GA Voice - - Nationalnews -

Pro­po­nents of fund­ing to com­bat HIV/ AIDS con­tinue to ex­press alarm over cuts to fed­eral pro­grams, which in some cases are mas­sive, in the bud­get pro­posal that Pres­i­dent Trump un­veiled May 23 amid ques­tions of whether Congress will agree to the re­duc­tions.

Carl Sch­mid, deputy di­rec­tor of the AIDS In­sti­tute, said the de­crease in fund­ing for HIV/AIDS pro­posed in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s $4.1 tril­lion bud­get re­quest was “pretty shock­ing” af­ter years of bi­par­ti­san agree­ment to con­front the dis­ease.

“We al­ways think there are ways to im­prove, ways to change things, we’re open to that,” Sch­mid said. “We’re not one of the peo­ple that say, ‘No, no, no.’ But I don’t think cut­ting the bud­get this dras­ti­cally is a way to change things.”

The bud­get blue­print un­veiled in March by the White House Of­fice of Man­age­ment & Bud­get in­di­cated pro­posed cuts for HIV screen­ing and research, but Sch­mid said the ex­tent of cuts in the bud­get was a sur­prise.

CDC, NIH fund­ing would be slashed

Among the more dras­tic cuts is a $186 mil­lion re­duc­tion in Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion fund­ing for HIV/AIDS, vi­ral hep­ati­tis, STIs and TB pre­ven­tion. A full $150 mil­lion of the re­duc­tion would come from HIV/AIDS pre­ven­tion pro­grams.

“We would have prob­a­bly a mil­lion fewer HIV tests be­cause of that and we don’t know how many more peo­ple will be­come [HIV] pos­i­tive and not get the mes­sages,” Sch­mid said.

Al­though the CDC doesn’t pro­vide pre-ex­po­sure pro­phy­laxis, or PrEP, as a means of HIV pre­ven­tion, the agency con­ducts ed­u­ca­tion on the med­i­ca­tion, which could be im­paired as a re­sult of the cuts, Sch­mid said.

For research, on the chop­ping block is the

June 9, 2017

Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health, which han­dles HIV/AIDS research for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and was work­ing on a cure un­der Pres­i­dent Obama. The bud­get seeks a mas­sive $7.2 bil­lion re­duc­tion to NIH gen­er­ally and a $550 mil­lion re­duc­tion to HIV/AIDS research specif­i­cally, ac­cord­ing to the AIDS In­sti­tute.

“We never thought it would be at this mag­ni­tude,” Sch­mid said. “It’s around 19 per­cent of all HIV pre­ven­tion fund­ing would be cut. We knew that they were go­ing to cut research, but it’s around 17 per­cent.”

The bud­get blue­print iden­ti­fied the Ryan White Health Care Act as a high pri­or­ity, but the bud­get also con­tains some roll­backs for the pro­grams it sup­ports – pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to low-in­come peo­ple with HIV/ AIDS, and fund­ing for AIDS glob­ally.”

For Ryan White, the bud­get seeks a $59 mil­lion re­duc­tion to the pro­gram as a re­sult of cut­ting $34 mil­lion from pro­grams for chil­dren, youth, women and fam­i­lies and $25 mil­lion for pro­grams of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance.

Sch­mid said the pro­gram cuts un­der the pro­posed bud­get aren’t di­rect ser­vices pro­grams to en­sure low-in­come peo­ple have ac­cess to HIV/AIDS med­i­ca­tion, but train­ing pro­grams aimed at gay men, trans­gen­der women and peo­ple of color.

“Most Ryan White fund­ing does go out to grants for di­rect ser­vices and health care med­i­ca­tions, things like that, but this is ways to im­prove and to train peo­ple, es­pe­cially in a chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Sch­mid said.

As pointed out by the LGBT group GLAAD, among the pro­grams of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance is an ini­tia­tive that seeks to en­hance HIV ser­vice de­liv­ery in­ter­ven­tions for trans­gen­der women of color at nine de­liv­ery sites through­out the coun­try.

“This bud­get would pull the rug from un­der some of Amer­ica’s most marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing trans­gen­der women of color, at a time when they need our help the most,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate El­lis said. “Pres­i­dent Trump’s bud­get is heart­less and the lat­est ex­am­ple of the ad­min­is­tra­tion work­ing to sys­tem­at­i­cally erase LGBTQ Amer­i­cans from the fab­ric of this na­tion.”

Con­sis­tent with the Repub­li­can plan to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare, the bud­get pro­posal also seeks to elim­i­nate $800 bil­lion in Med­i­caid. That’s a ma­jor source of as­sis­tance for peo­ple with HIV/AIDS be­cause an es­ti­mated 40 per­cent of them are on Med­i­caid.

Doug Wirth, CEO of the New York-based health care non­profit Amida Care, said in a state­ment the cuts to HIV/AIDS pro­grams pro­posed in the bud­get are “un­prece­dented” and “rep­re­sent a cruel and cal­lous at­tack on mil­lions of hard-work­ing Amer­i­cans.”

“Fund­ing for health care is not just a num­ber on a bal­ance sheet – for many peo­ple, it’s a mat­ter of life and death,” Wirth said. “These ruth­less cuts will re­verse our hard-earned progress in the fight against

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