Americas Aids Magazine
June 24, 2019
The hepatitis community wants more federal dollars; hep a cases rising fast
by Larry Buhl
Here’s the good news on federal funding for hepatitis research and treatment. In its 2020 budget proposal, the Trump Administration has requested a $53 million increase, from the current level of $5 million, to fund the infectious disease and opioids programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The bad news is the budget for the response to all forms of hepatitis, including hepatitis A, B and C, is flat, at $39 million. That’s not nearly enough, according to Frank Hood, Senior Policy Associate at The AIDS Institute. He’s calling on Congress to allocate the additional $95 million requested by the hepatitis community for CDC’s viral hepatitis programs, and says that the CDC needs massive funding to expand its work in prevention, education, and testing for individuals at risk of hepatitis C, surveillance of outbreaks, and linkage to care for those who need it.
“President Trump has kept the same level of funding [for hepatitis] flat for three years,” Hood told A&U. “Any budget increases were due to Congress. And we hope that with a Democratic House, that budget item will be increased.”
Not only are cases of hepatitis C rising throughout the country, new populations are being impacted. In 2016, there were 41,700 new cases of hepatitis C, a twenty-two percent increase from the prior year. Between 2010 and 2016, there was a 350-percent increase in new infections. Unlike previous outbreaks that affected baby boomers, the biggest increase in infections today are among people under forty years old with more than seventy percent of cases the result of injection drug use.
“One reason we need increased funding is linkage to care, and this funding can be used for harm reduction,” Hood said.
On harm reduction there has been a shift in recent years, Hood added. “To our surprise, there is brief but well-worded support for syringe programs. There isn’t a fear of backlash around this and other harm reduction programs, but we want to make sure they get up and running, and again, we need resources for them.”
TO CONTINUE READING: https://aumag.org/2019/06/24/hep-community-we-need-more-federal-dollars/