Biden Budget Proposal Increases Funding for Ending HIV

Biden Budget Proposal Increases Funding for Ending HIV

President Joe Biden. Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

President Joseph Biden’s first preliminary budget, released on April 9, 2021, proposes an increase of $267 million for domestic HIV testing, prevention, and treatment programs as part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic. This proposal adds to the $400-plus million Congress appropriated for the first two years of the initiative to end HIV by 2030 by initially focusing on programs in jurisdictions most impacted by HIV.

Last year’s budget included an increase of $412 million for the second year of the initiative for a total of $716 million, while the Congress settled on an increase of just $137 million. If the Biden budget request is approved, funding for the initiative would total $670 million.

Carl Schmid, Executive Director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute (HHPI), said in a press release, “We thank President Biden for demonstrating his commitment to ending HIV in the United States by including this substantial funding increase in his budget to ramp up the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative. While it falls short of what 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 and 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.”

The HHPI commented that, despite the medical community’s having turned its attention to battling the COVID epidemic, there have promising results of the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program reports 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 PrEP uptake from 19,000 in 2020 to nearly 50,000 people early this year.

It is important to note that this increase in HIV funding is still in the “proposal” stage. Passing the budget will require overcoming likely Republican Party opposition to HIV funding.

—Reporting by Hank Trout

Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.