Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings 

Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations  

Senate Democrats are moving to advance the appropriations process in the upper chamber despite the lack of a bipartisan budget resolution, announcing that bill text could be released by the end of the month. The announcement comes after the

House Appropriations Committee leveraged a deeming resolution to approve (32-24) the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) subcommittee spending bill for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) without a topline bipartisan spending agreement. However, Democrats will have to secure Republican support to pass the final FY2023 spending package. Please refer to NASTAD’s appropriations chart for the full details on the spending bill. 

NASTAD will continue to monitor the appropriations process and advocate for the highest funding level on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs.  

Administration Activities 

CDC Publishes 2020 Medical Monitoring Project Data 

On July 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published data from the 2020 cycle (June 2020–May 2021) of the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP). The MMP is an annual, cross-sectional complex sample survey that reports nationally representative estimates of behavioral and clinical characteristics of adults with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States. the MMP provides data on two important social determinants of health, homelessness and HIV-related stigma, to monitor progress in achieving national HIV prevention goals. The latest MMP report shows that 80% of adults with diagnosed HIV did not miss any HIV medical appointments during the past 12 months, 95% were currently taking ART, and 62% took all prescribed ART doses during the past 30 days. 

CDC Awards Funding for Transgender Status-Neutral Community-to-Clinic Models to End the HIV Epidemic 

At the end of June, CDC awarded a total of $2 million in first-year funding to four organizations to develop models for community-to-clinic, status-neutral HIV prevention and care services for transgender persons. The funded recipients are healthcare organizations that provide comprehensive, co-located health services for transgender persons including HIV testing, HIV care or linkage to care, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), gender-affirming hormone therapy, STI testing and treatment, hepatitis testing and treatment or linkage, primary health care, chronic disease care, and navigation. Funded organizations will also participate in a national learning collaborative to share lessons learned and best practices.

CDC Announces Expanded Monkeypox Testing at Commercial Laboratories 

On July 14, CDC announced that Aegis Sciences began testing for monkeypox using CDC’s orthopoxvirus test, which detects most non-smallpox related orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox virus. Aegis expects to be able to perform up to 10,000 tests per week, increasing the current capacity provided through CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN), Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, and Quest Diagnostics to up to 70,000 tests per week by the end of the month. The boost in testing is a key component of the Administration’s monkeypox strategy, and will facilitate greater detection of the virus as cases continue to rise


NASTAD Joins Coalition to Urge Optum and UnitedHealth to Protect Access to HBV Medication 

On July 7, NASTAD joined the Hep B United coalition and signed onto a letter urging Optum and its parent company, UnitedHealth, to reconsider the decision to remove Vemlidy as a covered medication for treating chronic hepatitis B. The timing of Optum’s non-medical formulary plan switch, which comes in the middle of the year, leaves beneficiaries who were prescribed Vemlidy with no opportunity to choose a different insurance plan that covers their medication. Patients who are stable on their medication may now have to switch to a lower-cost and possibly less effective product for purely financial reasons.

AIDS Journal: Racial and ethnic disparities in coronavirus disease 2019 disease incidence independent of comorbidities, among people with HIV in the United States 

“Our results suggest that the presence of structural racial inequities above and beyond medical comorbidities increased the risk of COVID-19 among PWH. PWH with immune exhaustion as evidenced by lowest historical CD4+ cell count or current low CD4+ : CD8+ ratio had greater risk of COVID-19.” 

Job Postings 

Harm Reduction Response Team, University of Wisconsin Madison 

The Division of Infectious Diseases at UW-Madison, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Communicable Diseases Harm Reduction Section (CDHRS), seeks candidates to join a team that will provide mobile harm reduction outreach services in rural Wisconsin communities. These position are responsible for providing an array of mobile-based harm reduction services including intakes and ongoing assessments to people living with and at risk for hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), and HIV and other communicable infections (e.g., STI, COVID-19,). Apply by July 27. 

Intern, Policy and Legislative Affairs – NASTAD 

The Policy and Legislative Affairs (PLA) Intern will assist the PLA team in the implementation of NASTAD’s legislative and policy positions on federal appropriations and authorization legislation related to HIV and hepatitis issues. The PLA Intern supports the day-to-day legislative activity needed to implement federal legislative and regulatory goals. The PLA Intern will assist in tracking, monitoring, researching, and preparing advocacy documents on relevant HIV and hepatitis policy issues and legislation and coordinate and participate in Hill visits. 

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.  

Social Innovations Team Lead – Baltimore, MD 

Baltimore City Health Department is seeking to fill the position of the Social Innovations Team Lead for the Bureau of Clinical Services and HIV/STI Prevention. The HIV/STI Social Innovations Team is a unique and visionary program at Baltimore City Health Department that utilizes a human-centered design approach to engage with the Baltimore community on issues related to HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention.  The team creates innovative, original, and engaging programming to involve the community in the heart of the Health Department’s work. 

Project Data Manager, Syringe Service Program – University of Washington 

We are hiring for a Project Data Manager (Research Consultant) to work closely with the principal investigator, project coordinator, survey site staff, CDC personnel, and other support staff to enact all data-related components of Project NEXUS. This position will supervise the NEXUS data team, including two research assistants, lead data analysis, and be the main point of contact for the CDC data management team. They will also provide support for the Dave Purchase Memorial Survey and the National Harm Reduction TA Center as needed. 

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 

On-Demand PrEP Works as Well as Daily Pills 

“On-demand pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) taken before and after sex—known as PrEP 2-1-1—was as effective and well tolerated as daily pills, according to the latest findings from the French PREVENIR study recently published in The Lancet HIV…But for those who do not wish to take pills every day, on-demand (also called intermittent or event-driven) PrEP offers another option. PrEP 2-1-1 involves taking two doses of TDF/FTC between two and 24 hours before anticipated sex, one dose 24 hours after the initial double dose and a final dose 24 hours after that.” 

House Democrats advance bills to bolster abortion access 

“House Democrats on Wednesday advanced two bills that seek to bolster abortion rights, less than one month after the Supreme Court issued a ruling that reversed Roe v. Wade. The House voted 217-204 in a party-line vote on the rule to set up debate for the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act. Three other bills were also included in the rule.” 

HHS Approves Nation’s First Section 1332 Waiver for a Public Option–Style Health Care Plan in Colorado 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently approved a new section 1332 waiver authorizing Colorado’s public option–style law. Under this law, insurance carriers must offer individuals and small businesses new, lower cost “Colorado Option” plans, in addition to their regular plan offerings. The waiver represents the first time the federal government has taken action to approve state legislation that introduces more heavily regulated plans into Affordable Care Act marketplaces to compete against traditional plans.