Biden Allocates $850M to End HIV Epidemic

The proposed funds include $165 million more for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, $47 million more for HIV and hepatitis prevention activities at the Indian Health Service, and $115 million for CDC HIV prevention programs.

In his latest budget, President Joe Biden has proposed an increase of $377 million, for a total of $850 million, toward federal government efforts to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.

Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, was very pleased with Biden’s efforts as he makes good on his commitment to end HIV in the U.S by calling for increased funding for HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs in jurisdictions with the highest levels of HIV.

The proposed funds include $165 million more for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, $47 million more for HIV and hepatitis prevention activities at the Indian Health Service, and $115 million for CDC HIV prevention programs.

“Last year, the administration proposed significant increases, but we only ended up getting $70 million after COVID-19 stalled progress and Congress fell short in providing the requested increases,” says Schmid. “Hopefully, Congress will support these proposals so our efforts to end HIV can get back on track.”

The budget also calls for the creation of a 10-year, $9.8 billion nationwide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) delivery program.

“This is great news and shows the president is committed to ending HIV by boosting the budget for these efforts,” Schmid said. “The $9.8 billion mandatory spending is really big. It’s a rather large amount of money, and I was shocked when I saw the number because we were asking for $400 million the first year.”

Although very few details about this have been made public at this time, Schmid believes it will include a beefing up of the grant programs and a drug purchasing program for generic drugs.

“We want to make sure the newer, long-acting drugs get to the people,” he said. “We have to get Congress to go along with it now.”

The PrEP Assistance Program Act (HR 5605), introduced by Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff, and Mondaire Jones currently has a total of 50 cosponsors . The legislation would establish a grant program to provide PrEP and related services to individuals at no cost.

“This is particularly necessary for those communities who have not taken full advantage of the highly effective HIV prevention drugs, including Black and Latino gay men and Black women,” Schmid comments. “Even with the availability of low-cost generic and free daily oral PrEP drugs, uptake has been low due to the lack of community and provider outreach, lab and other medical costs, along with stigma.”

He adds that the proposal in the budget would include the recently approved once-every-two-months PrEP drug, and also provide incentives for the development of more longer-acting drugs.”

“In many ways, this is a very bold budget,” Schmid continues. “Now it will be up to the Congress to deliberate and pass funding bills and a PrEP delivery program that are acceptable to both the House and the Senate. “