Biden Budget Proposes Increased Funding for Ending HIV, But Not for Hepatitis Programs

Biden is proposing a $46 million increase to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs and $20 million for HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program. However, no increases were planned for hepatitis programs.

President Joe Biden announced his proposal budget in efforts to end the decade's worth of the HIV epidemic. Biden's proposal included the increase of $267 million for domestic HIV testing, prevention, and treatment programs as part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. He is proposing a $46 million increase to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs and $20 million for HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

However, Biden’s budget proposes to keep CDC’s hepatitis division at only $39.5 million.

Biden’s HIV budget request adds on the over $400 million Congress appropriated for the first two years of the initiative to end HIV by 2030. Last year, President Trump’s budget called for an increase of $412 million for the second year of the initiative for a total of $716 million. Total funding for the initiative would be $670 million in year three if the Biden budget request is approved.

“We thank President Biden for demonstrating his commitment to ending HIV in the United States with this funding increase to ramp up the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative,” Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, said. “While it falls short of what is needed and the community has requested, if this funding is realized it will continue the momentum already created and make further progress in ending HIV in the U.S. Efforts to end HIV will help eradicate an infectious disease that we have been battling for the last 40 years and help correct racial and health inequities in our nation.”

On the other hand, the CDC released new data showing things are looking up toward the long battle of ending HIV. The use of PrEP is up substantially, along with the percent of people living with HIV who are virally suppressed. This has lowered the number of new infections by 8% between 2015 and 2019.

In addition, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program reported they were able to bring nearly 6,300 new clients into the program and re-engage an additional 3,600. Community health centers were able to increase pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a once-daily pill that prevents HIV transmission, uptake from 19,000 in 2020 to nearly 63,000 people this year.

For Ending the HIV Epidemic programs, Biden’s budget includes a $100 million increase for CDC’s HIV prevention efforts; $85 million more for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program; and $50 million more for the Community Health Centers to focus on PrEP. Additionally, the budget proposed $22 million more for HIV and hepatitis C prevention activities under the Indian Health Service and an increase of HIV research at the NIH by $10 million.

Biden’s budget proposes an increase of $.6 million for the Minority AIDS Initiative at HHS.

However, Biden’s budget request for hepatitis falls short of the community’s request of $134 million for the CDC Hepatitis Division.

The CDC recently reported the number of acute hepatitis C cases increased 70% from 2015 through 2019. Elimination of hepatitis can be made possible through scaling up curative medications for hepatitis C and vaccines for hepatitis A and B.

“If we are to implement the national strategic plan to eliminate hepatitis and do it by 2030, as the president supports, we are going to need a significant commitment of resources and the leadership to make it happen,” Schmid added. “Unfortunately, that is not going to happen with this budget proposal.”