Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings 

Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations  

Top appropriators are moving to advance Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) spending discussions following the release of the President’s FY2023 Budget Request to Congress on March 28. Democrats intend to advance the spending bills on a normal timeline in order to avoid the Fiscal Year 2022 spending scenario where Congress had to issue a string of continuing resolutions to fund the government as a result of protracted spending negotiations. House lawmakers are expected to markup subcommittee spending bills in June, working to finalize a bipartisan spending package by the start of FY2023 on October 1. However, partisan battles ahead of the midterm elections could derail that timeline. 

NASTAD is monitoring the FY2023 appropriations process and will advocate for the highest possible funding levels on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs. 

Administration Activities 

CDC Releases STD Surveillance Data 

On April 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2020 Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Surveillance Report. The data show record-high rates of STD transmission, especially gonorrhea and syphilis, which were exacerbated by disruptions to STD surveillance and prevention efforts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report identifies the nation’s limited capacity to staff and resource STD programs as a key factor in rising transmission rates of STDs. Advocates emphasized the critical importance of adequately funding STD prevention programs and investing in the public health workforce in order to reverse the dramatic increase in rates of STD transmission. 

CDC Releases Information about Meningococcal Disease Outbreak in Florida, 2022 

“CDC cautions that there is a large, ongoing outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida, primarily among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, including those living with HIV. There have also been cases reported in the state over the last few months, including multiple cases in college students. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the cases among college students are related to the larger outbreak. Meningococcal disease is very serious and often deadly. 

National Transgender HIV Testing Day 

April 18 is National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHTD), a time to recognize the importance of HIV testing—an important entry point to HIV prevention and treatment—for transgender and non-binary people. In 2019, of the 671 new HIV diagnoses among transgender people, 93% (625) were among transgender women and 7% (46) were among transgender men. Click here to read a Dear Colleague Letter from the Directors of the CDC National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention and Division of HIV Prevention that highlight the CDC’s activities to address HIV among transgender people and access the 2022 NTHTD toolkit and resources. 


HepNET Townhall 

Date: May 12 | 2:00 PM ET 

Register: Click here to register 

NASTAD in partnership with National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) are implementing and facilitating the Hepatitis Network for Education and Testing (HepNET). In collaboration, we will work with state and local health departments (LHDs), community-based organizations (CBOs), clinical providers, people with lived experience, syringe services programs (SSPs) and harm reduction programs, and other key partners to identify and address the unmet needs of people who inject drugs (PWID) and improve their access to viral hepatitis education, prevention, testing, linkage to care, and treatment. Join the townhall to learn more about HepNET.

IHS NOFO: Ending the HIV/HCV Epidemics in Indian Country: A Program for  

American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes and Urban Indian Communities 

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is accepting applications for a cooperative agreement for the Ending the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Epidemics in Indian Country (ETHIC) program. The purpose of this program is to support communities in reducing new human HIV infections and relevant co-morbidities, specifically STI and HCV infections, improve HIV-, STI-, and HCV-related health outcomes, and reduce HIV-, STI-, and HCV-related health disparities among American Indian and American Native people. Applications are due June 17, 2022. 

O’Neill Institute Big Ideas Brief: Concerted Efforts Are Needed to Get Back on Track Toward Ending HIV Following COVID-19 

This brief and accompanying summary both acknowledge that COVID-19 created additional obstacles on the path to ending HIV by 2030 and likely deepened existing inequities. Thus, we must respond to the lessons learned from the pandemic to continuously improve efforts to reduce new HIV transmissions and better support all people living with HIV. 

CDC MMWR: Notes from the Field: Wound Botulism Outbreak Among a Group of Persons Who Inject Drugs — Dallas, Texas, 2020 

AIDS United Harm Reduction Futures Fund 

AIDS United announced the launch of the Harm Reduction Futures Fund, a refresh of the mission and vision of its nearly two decades of harm reduction grantmaking. The fund invests in evidence-based and community-driven approaches to prevent the transmission of both HIV and viral hepatitis, reduce injection-related injuries, increase overdose prevention and reversal efforts and connect people who use drugs to comprehensive prevention, treatment and support services. Be sure to join us Friday, April 15, at 12 p.m. EDT for an Instagram live conversation about this new chapter in our harm reduction work and how to prioritize harm reduction as an essential part of the work to end the HIV epidemic. 

CDC NOFO: Strengthening Syringe Services Programs 

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) aims to increase access to harm reduction services for people who currently inject, or have a history of injecting, drugs and reduce incidence of infectious diseases and other complications of injection drug use through two components. Click here to read a blog post from the Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis on the new NOFO. Applications are due Monday, May 2. 

CDC NOFO: Enhanced Surveillance of Persons with Early and Late HIV Diagnosis 

This NOFO will support identification and recruitment of adults with recent HIV diagnoses at stage 0 and stage 3 to improve understanding of barriers and gaps associated with new infection and late diagnosis in the era of multiple testing modalities and prevention options such as PrEP. These enhanced surveillance activities will identify actionable missed opportunities for early diagnosis and prevention, thus informing allocation of resources, development and prioritization of interventions, and evidence-based local and national decisions to improve HIV testing and address prevention gaps. Applications close April 26.

Job Postings 

Health Program Specialist - STD Prevention Program – Boise, ID 

We are currently seeking a full-time Health Program Specialist for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare STD Prevention Program. This position is located within the HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Section in the Bureau of Clinical and Preventive Services, Division of Public Health. This position will support program prevention activities outlined in our federal grant. The ideal candidate will be a collaborative and motivated self-starter who has an interest in STD prevention. Have strong oral and written communication skills, strong attention to detail, time management skills, and experience working with stakeholders and other community partners in capacity building and implementation of best practices for routine testing, prevention, and treatment of STDs. This position may have telework options. Applications close April 18. 

Viral Hepatitis Diagnostics Working Group Coordinating Consultant – Treatment Action Group (TAG) 

The Viral Hepatitis Diagnostics Working Group Coordinating consultant will work with TAG’s Policy Team and Working Group members to coordinate, facilitate, and support the WG to advance agreed policy and funding priorities and objectives. This includes drafting written materials, meeting facilitation and co-facilitation, notetaking, informing and guiding advocacy strategies, contributing to building WG consensus, engaging stakeholders, and supporting educational activities such as webinars. Applications close April 26.

STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program, Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health 

Department of State Health Services – Austin, TX 

  • Research Specialist V
    • Under the supervision of the Group Manager, the MMP Project Coordinator/Research Specialist V performs advanced research and epidemiological work requiring specialized knowledge of health behaviors related to TB/HIV/STD transmission. Responsible for the coordination of activities involved in the implementation of the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) in Texas. Coordinates activities related to sampling frame development, healthcare facility, provider, and patient recruitment and data collection. Prepares budget and grant documents, data collection protocols and procedures, annual, interim progress reports, and other reports required by CDC or DSHS. Applications close April 18. 
  • Public Health & Prevention Specialist II
    • Public Health and Prevent Specialist II performs a variety of tasks under the direction of the STD/HCV Epidemiology and Surveillance Group Manager related to the management of HIV/STD investigational data, including database maintenance, report tracking, data entry, and quality assurance. This position will aid in development of short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and objectives, and the development of standards for achieving strategic operational goals. Exercises independent judgment and professional discretion with extensive latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment to administrate, advise, plan, and coordinate duties. Applications close April 18. 
  • HIV/STD Director
    • The HIV/STD Director works under the general direction of the Director of the TB/HIV/STD Section (THSS) of the DSHS. Performs advanced (senior-level) managerial work leading the day-to-day operations of the HIV/STD Prevention and Care Unit. These programs include statewide programs for HIV clinical and social services; the provision of medications for the treatment of HIV and other STDs; and HIV/STD prevention. Applications close May 9. 

Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division, Communicable Disease Unit 

  • Communicable Disease Unit Surveillance Program Manager – Cheyenne, Wyoming
    • The Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division, Communicable Disease Unit is seeking a Communicable Disease Surveillance Program Manager for Cheyenne. This position will serve as the Communicable Disease (CD) Surveillance Program Manager and senior epidemiologist for the Communicable Disease Unit. This position oversees public health surveillance of four disease areas (HIV, STD, TB, and Viral Hepatitis).  This position will monitor disease trends and utilize surveillance data to coordinate public health activities.   
  • Communicable Disease Epidemiologist – Cheyenne, Wyoming
    • This position will serve as the Communicable Disease AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Coordinator, Wyoming TB Controller, and Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) for the Communicable Disease (CD) Treatment Program.  Assist in outbreak response to ensure the safety of Wyoming residents; by interviewing cases for exposure information, updating news outlets on the progress of outbreak control, and analyzing exposure data utilizing epidemiological and statistical methods. 

Hepatitis Surveillance Data Analyst – New Orleans, Louisiana 

This position is responsible for the data analysis activities for the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program (SHHP), in the Hepatitis Surveillance unit. Data utilized for Hepatitis Surveillance activities include Hepatitis laboratory data, Case Report Forms, Provider Report Forms, Linkage to Cure data, investigation data, Medicaid data, and data from related sources and programs. This position will implement and coordinate data analysis activities to monitor and evaluate progress toward meeting hepatitis elimination within the state. All activities must be completed in accordance with the security and confidentiality guidelines required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHHP. 

Assistant Commissioner - Health Department – Baltimore, Maryland 

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is seeking an Assistant Commissioner to lead the Bureau of Communicable Disease and Outbreak Control. This senior management position will lead a talented team responsible for communicable disease investigation, outbreak control, and emergency preparedness programming. The incumbent will also be responsible for developing and implementing agency-wide policies related to health department readiness to respond to public health emergencies. The incumbent will report directly to the Deputy Commissioner for BCHD’s Division of Population Health & Disease Prevention.    

Open Positions – New York State 

The New York State Department of Health, in partnership with Health Research, Inc, has various job openings, including some within the AIDS Institute. Please visit this link to learn about their current opportunities.

News Bulletin 

STDs are surging. The funding to fight them is not. 

“Gonorrhea and syphilis cases reached record levels during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data released Tuesday from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The latest figures — part of an ongoing upward trend — follow Congress’ decision last month to provide far less funding to sexual health clinics that provide free and subsidized testing for sexually transmitted diseases, education, contraception and other services than providers say is needed to reverse the current course.” 

Spain, Ireland report cases of mystery hepatitis in children first detected in UK: WHO 

“Cases of the hepatitis first identified in children in the U.K. have now been found in Ireland and Spain, the World Health Organization said in a statement Friday. Since the U.K. flagged the issue earlier this month, three cases were confirmed in Spain in children ranging from 22 months old to 13 years old, the WHO said. National authorities are looking into these cases. Fewer than five cases of confirmed or possible hepatitis have been reported in Ireland, where investigations are also ongoing. The cause of the disease remains unclear. None of the usual viruses that cause hepatitis were detected.” 

HHS extends COVID-19 public health emergency for another 90 days 

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency for another 90 days and potentially for the final time. The PHE, which gives key flexibilities to providers and states, will not expire in July. The PHE was originally expected to expire April 16. It remains unclear whether HHS will extend the emergency for a second time this summer, but providers will likely know the answer in a month. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has promised a 60-day heads-up to providers and states that the PHE will end.”