AIDS United’s Statement on President Trump’s Budget for FY 2018

AIDS United is shocked by President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request released today. It threatens to roll back the progress in the fight against the domestic HIV epidemic. Now more than ever we must maintain and strengthen our progress towards our national goals and priorities of reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

The deep proposed cuts to domestic HIV and STD prevention cannot be reconciled with the goal of preventing new HIV transmissions and the rising rates of STDs. The proposed $59 million cut to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, coupled with a fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid program capping federal spending for the first time to the tune of a $610 million funding reduction over the next decade, diminishes every community’s ability to deliver quality health care to people living with HIV by eliminating AIDS Education and Training Centers and Special Programs of National Significance (SPNS).

“AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs) are essential to the HIV care continuum and the success of the national goals and priorities to end the epidemic,” said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. “AETCs assure that providers know and apply the best standards of care for people living with and at risk for HIV.”

Further, AIDS United is particularly concerned that the President’s budget eliminates SPNS and reduces funding for Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) programs. SPNS and MAI programs address the HIV epidemic by developing targeted, innovative approaches to reach chronically underserved people.

“Investment in targeted approaches are effective and save money, at a time when 1 in 2 and 1 in 4 Black and Latino gay and bisexual men respectively are at substantial risk for HIV infection in their lifetime. How can we reduce funding to programs that address these disparities? The President’s budget isn’t just a set of numbers, it’s a disturbing statement of values. Every voter must send their own message to Congress to express that they value the health of our people,” said Milan.

AIDS United urges Congress to reject the draconian cuts proposed in the President’s budget request and support funding for Medicaid, HIV programs, and STD prevention. Congress cannot idly allow the return of reduced, sequester discretionary spending caps for fiscal year 2018. These restrictive caps must be raised so that non-defense discretionary programs, which include HIV programs, can be adequately funded in fiscal year 2018. A bipartisan budget agreement that provides relief from the sequester spending caps while preserving parity between defense and non-defense discretionary programs must be achieved for 2018.

“The president’s budget would turn back the clock for years and years on progress to end the HIV epidemic. We call on Congress to keep the country moving forward,” said Milan.


Factors Tied to Anal Sex and HIV Testing in Just-Diagnosed MSM: NYC



Recent HIV testing and substance use during sex were associated with unprotected (condom-free) anal intercourse in a study of 150 young men who have sex with men (MSM) recently diagnosed with HIV infection in New York City. Employed men and those who had unprotected anal sex were more likely to get tested for HIV. In the United States and many other countries with similar HIV epidemics, MSM account for the highest proportion of new HIV infections. Although health authorities encourage sexually active MSM to get tested for HIV yearly or more often, the interplay between testing, risk behavior, and substance use remains poorly understood in this high-risk group.
The study involved 150 MSM diagnosed with HIV within the past 3 months at a community clinic in New York City. Researchers interviewed the men about sexual behavior and substance use in the 3 months before their diagnosis. Relevant clinical characteristics were extracted from medical records. Statistical analyses probed for factors associated with (1) unprotected anal sex in the 3 months before HIV diagnosis and (2) a negative HIV test in the 12 months before diagnosis.
The men averaged 32.5 years in age (standard deviation 8.8), and 62% belonged to a racial or ethnic minority. Almost all men, 95%, had a prior negative HIV test, and 55% had a negative test within the last 12 months. Although almost half of the men (48%) had at least a college education, 71% of these men earned only $30,000 a year or less, low by New York City standards.
Statistical analysis linked unprotected anal sex to recent HIV testing and substance use during sex. Recent testing was associated with being employed or a student, having unprotected anal sex, and a higher CD4 count.
Source: Anya S. Drabkin, Kathleen J. Sikkema, Patrick A. Wilson, Christina S. Meade, Nathan B. Hansen, Allyson DeLorenzo, Arlene Kochman, Jessica C. MacFarlane, Melissa H. Watt, Frances M. Aunon, Krista W. Ranby, Gal Mayer. Risk patterns preceding diagnosis among newly HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men in New York City. AIDS Patient Care and STDs. 2013; 27: 333-341.