Monday, June 19, 2017

An Epidemic In The Making

The rate of new HIV’AIDS case is increasing and it is especially increasing in states where the legislature has cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
Indiana Shut Down Its Rural Planned Parenthood Clinics And Got An HIV Outbreak
Huffington Post
By Laura Bassett

Scott County, Indiana, the center of an exploding HIV outbreak, has been without an HIV testing center since early 2013, when the sole provider — a Planned Parenthood clinic — was forced to close its doors. The clinic did not offer abortion services.

The Scott County clinic and four other Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, all of which provided HIV testing and information, have shuttered since 2011, in large part due to funding cuts to the state’s public health infrastructure. Those cuts came amid a national and local political campaign to demonize the health care provider. Now, the state is scrambling to erect pop-up clinics to combat an unprecedented HIV epidemic caused by intravenous drug use.

The fact that Scott County was “without a testing facility until a few weeks ago is a glaring example of the kind of public health crisis that results when prevention and testing are left unfunded,” said Patti Stauffer, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s vice president for public policy.
Now we might see the same thing nation wide with cuts to funding for HIV/AIDS screenings.
HIV/AIDS cuts in Trump budget called ‘shocking,’ ‘cruel’
Washington Blade
By Chris Johnson
May 31, 2017

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 last week 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.
Among the more drastic cuts is a $186 million reduction in Centers for Disease Control 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.
And it will hurt on an individual level also with cuts to Ryan White Health Care Act.
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.
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 of source of assistance for people with HIV/AIDS because an estimated 40 percent of them are on Medicaid.
Six Experts Resign From President’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Panel in Protest
NBC News
By Phil McCausland
June 19, 2017

Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) resigned in protest of the Trump administration, which they allege "has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic."

Scott Schoettes, Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, explained in a Newsweek op-ed Friday that he and five colleagues decided to leave their posts on the council for a number of reasons.
But their largest expressed gripe was that the Trump administration has not sought input from the council when formulating HIV policy.

Schoettes, who is HIV positive, added that the White House is also pushing legislation that would harm people with HIV and “reverse gains made in the fight against the disease.”
In the op-ed, they note that Trump removed the Office of National AIDS Policy website and has not appointed someone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, who held a seat on the Domestic Policy Council under Obama.

"Because we do not believe the Trump Administration is listening to — or cares — about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down," Schoettes wrote.
You might be thinking, “Well this doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have HIV/AIDS.” Wrong! This affects everyone because right now the disease is being aggressively being fought but link in states that have cut funding to organizations that do testing we see the infection rate climb and when that happens we can expect to see HIV increase in the general population.

Also, under the Republican healthcare plan HIV/AIDS is a preexisting condition and might not be covered by insurance plans.

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