Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings 

FY2024 Appropriations 

On January 27, Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-TX-12) reached an agreement on topline spending totals for the 12 Fiscal Year 2024 (FY2024) appropriations subcommittee bills. Appropriators are now working to draft bill text ahead of spending deadlines set by a January 19 continuing resolution (CR) (H.R. 2872), which “laddered” deadlines for federal spending bills to grant lawmakers a few more weeks to finalize FY2024 spending levels. Some federal agencies and programs face a March 1 deadline, but larger agencies, including those funded through the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill, now face a March 8 deadline,

NASTAD will continue to monitor the congressional appropriations process and advocate for the highest possible funding for HIV, hepatitis, and drug user health programs. 

Administration Activities 

Dr. Robyn Neblett Fanfair to Lead CDC Division of HIV Prevention 

On February 12, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) announced that Robyn Neblett Fanfair, MD, MPH (CAPT, USPHS), will lead the NCHHSTP Division of HIV Prevention (DHP) in a permanent capacity after serving as Acting Division Director since 2022. As Director, Dr. Fanfair will continue to provide her scientific leadership and expertise to manage, direct, and coordinate the work of the Division to reduce new HIV infections, advance health equity, and improve the health of people with HIV. Since first joining NCHHSTP in 2012, Dr. Fanfair has led research activities to enhance engagement and retention in HIV care, increase viral suppression, and improve equity in health and life for persons with HIV. NASTAD congratulates Dr. Fanfair for her new role as permanent Director of DHP.

HRSA HAB Recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 

On February 7, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau recognized National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year's theme, "Engage, Educate, Empower: Uniting to End HIV/AIDS in Black Communities" urges us to actively participate in building a future with equitable access to HIV services and free from the barriers of HIV stigma. HRSA highlighted progress made in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) to address social and structural barriers that Black people continue to face. Notably, Black RWHAP program clients, who represent nearly half of overall RWHAP program clients, have achieved an 87.1% viral suppression rate.


NASTAD/CDC: Patient Navigation for People Who Use Drugs 

This microsite houses background, approaches, materials, and recommendations from the Patient Navigation Programs at Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) Demonstration Project, which facilitated the co-location of comprehensive navigation services at harm reduction programs. This microsite is intended to be a resource and reference for public health programs that fund or facilitate patient navigation, harm reduction organizations and SSPs exploring or operating navigation services, and allied organizations interested in learning more about access and barriers to services for people who use drugs.  

NASTAD: Southern Region Cluster Detection and Response (CDR) Video Series 

“This animated video series breaks down multiple foundational components of HIV cluster detection and response (CDR) work. The series discusses complexities surrounding this public health strategy in a digestible, basic manner and aims to educate staff members at health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs) new to CDR concepts. Health departments and CBOs can also utilize these videos as an engagement and education tool for their community members and stakeholder groups.” 


NIH: Hepatitis C Virus Elimination Programs in Louisiana and Washington: Importance of Screening and Surveillance Systems 

“The US government has established a national goal of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination by 2030. To date, most HCV elimination planning and activity have been at the state level. Fifteen states presently have publicly available HCV elimination plans. In 2019, Louisiana and Washington were the first states to initiate 5-year funded HCV elimination programs…Louisiana's and Washington's comprehensive plans, funding approaches, and programs provide a useful framework that can move states and the nation toward HCV elimination.” 

Job Postings 

Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator – Austin, TX 

Under direction of the Prevention Unit, provides highly advanced, senior-level consultative services and technical assistance as the DSHS viral hepatitis prevention coordinator. Oversees implementation and maintenance of viral hepatitis prevention efforts by identifying ways to integrate viral hepatitis prevention, vaccination, testing, and linkage to care into existing public health, clinical care, and community settings. Responsible for developing a DSHS viral hepatitis prevention plan as well as legislatively-mandated plans, including working with branch staff to solicit input from the public, including experts on Hepatitis, on the tenets of the plan. Apply by April 23. 

Program Content and Training Specialist, Supporting Harm Reduction Programs (SHaRP) – University of Washington 

This position is part of a cooperative agreement award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide technical assistance about monitoring and evaluation to syringe services programs (SSPs) as part of the National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center. One of the primary projects of this award is to provide technical assistance (TA) to SSPs for monitoring and evaluation activities. The University of Washington is working in collaboration with the CDC, SAMHSA, NASTAD, the National Harm Reduction Coalition, and other TA partners to provide a suite of technical assistance support to individual programs.  

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, analyzing exposure data utilizing epidemiological and statistical methods. 

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 

More people die after smoking drugs than injecting them, study finds 

“Smoking has surpassed injecting as the most common way of taking drugs in U.S. overdose deaths, a new government study suggests… Some early research has suggested that smoking fentanyl is somewhat less deadly than injecting it, and any reduction in injection-related overdose deaths is a positive, said the study’s lead author, Lauren Tanz. But “both injection and smoking carry a substantial overdose risk,” and it’s not yet clear if a shift toward smoking fentanyl reduces U.S. overdose deaths, said Tanz, a CDC scientist who studies overdoses.” 

Out-of-pocket cost increase could put HIV prevention medications out of reach 

“Increasing patients’ out of pocket costs for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), medications, which have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of HIV infection, could lead to a significant reduction in PrEP use and a rise in HIV infection rates, according to a new study co-led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.” 

In the South, Lawmakers Rethink Medicaid Expansion 

“Alabama is one of 10 states that have refused to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, the government health insurance program for people who are low-income or disabled. But lawmakers in Alabama and some other Southern states are reconsidering their opposition in light of strong public support for Medicaid expansion and pleas from powerful sectors of the health care industry, especially hospitals. Expansions are under consideration by Republican legislative leaders in Georgia and Mississippi, in addition to Alabama, raising the prospect that more than 600,000 low-income, uninsured people in those three states could gain coverage, according to KFF data.”