Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings 

Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations  

On May 26, the House Appropriations Committee held the FY2023 Public Witness Day, providing the public with an opportunity to provide testimony in support of appropriations requests for the upcoming fiscal year. Notably, House leadership selected Mark Jenkins, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Harm Reduction Alliance, to testify on the importance of syringe service programs and the need for more funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Infectious Disease and Opioids Program. Additionally, Marwan Haddad, the Medical Director of the Center for Key Populations at Community Health Center, Inc., HIVMA Medicine Association, testified in support of HIV and viral hepatitis funding lines, and Janet Hamilton, the Executive Director, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, raised attention to the emerging threats of monkeypox and cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown etiology. 

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

House Committee Advances Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Legislation 

On May 18, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in favor of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 (H.R. 7666), advancing the bill to the House floor. Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) introduced the legislation, which would reauthorize key Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs to address the national mental health and substance use disorder crises, including the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program. The legislative package includes the Mainstream Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, which removes training requirements for providers to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder. Additionally, the bill requires substance use disorder treatment programs receiving block grant funds to provide screening and testing for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) for program participants.

NASTAD Calls on Appropriators to Build on Proposed Increases to Hepatitis Funding in FY2023 

On May 16, NASTAD and the Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership called on appropriators to robustly fund the viral hepatitis prevention program in FY2023. The coalition requests $140 million in funding to scale up hepatitis services to address rising rates of viral hepatitis, implement new hepatitis B virus (HBV) testing and immunization guidelines, and support community-based interventions at jurisdictions experiencing outbreaks or with a high burden of injection drug use. The coalition urges appropriators to build off of the Biden Administration’s proposed $13.5 million increase for viral hepatitis prevention programs in FY2023. 

NASTAD Calls on Appropriators to Fund the CDC Infectious Disease and Opioid Epidemic Program 

On May 31, NASTAD joined a coalition of 334 organizations and called on top appropriators to substantially fund the CDC Infectious Disease and Opioid Epidemic Program in FY2023. The coalition requests $150 million in FY2023 to support and expand access to overdose prevention and syringe services programs (SSPs) to help stem the dramatically increasing number of overdose deaths and reduce the incidence of related infectious disease conditions for drug users, especially HCV. In addition to providing overdose prevention services like naloxone, SSPs are a key intervention for drug users to access health and behavioral screening, test for infectious diseases like HIV and HCV, and get connected to healthcare. Additionally, the coalition calls on Congress to remove language barring the use of federal funding to purchase syringes, which imposes a significant cost-prohibitive burden on SSPs from providing evidence-based syringe services.

Administration Activities 

NASTAD Signs onto Comments in Support of Updated HBV Screening and Testing Recommendations 

On June 2, NASTAD signed onto Hep B United’s coalition comments, joining 28 organizations in support of the updated screening and testing recommendations for HBV. The coalition of advocates applauded CDC’s move to recommend universal screening recommendations for all adults 18 and older, including screening susceptible populations regardless of their disclosure of risk. The updated screening and testing recommendations, which align with the recent updates to HBV vaccination guidelines, will ensure that progress on preventing new HBV infections does not reverse. The proposed recommendations will be finalized in the fall.

CDC Releases 2020 HIV Surveillance Report 

On May 24, the CDC National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) published the 2020 HIV Surveillance Report and the supplemental surveillance report. The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States led to disruptions in HIV testing services and access to clinical services throughout 2020. This disruption resulted in a steep, single-year decline in HIV diagnoses that is mostly attributed to declines in testing caused by less frequent visits to health centers, reduced outreach services, and shifting of public health staff to COVID-19 response activities. Given these disruptions, data for 2020 should be interpreted with caution. Since the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, more time and data are needed to accurately assess COVID-19’s impact on HIV in the United States. Assessments of trends in HIV diagnoses that include the year 2020 are discouraged. 

HHS Releases National Viral Hepatitis Implementation Plan 

On May 17, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Viral Hepatitis Federal Implementation Plan, which outlines federal partners’ commitments to eliminating the public health threat of viral hepatitis in the United States by 2030. This plan summarizes the policies, research, and activities that federal partners intend to put into practice through 2025 to meet the goals of the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan for the United States: A Roadmap to Elimination 2021-2025, released in January 2021, to provide a framework to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. These actions are intended to guide federal and non-federal stakeholders as they develop policies and plan their programs in support of the elimination of viral hepatitis. 

OASH Selects Kaye Hayes to Serve as Deputy Secretary for Infectious Disease 

On May 25, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health announced that B. Kaye Hayes, MPA was selected as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infectious Disease and the Director of the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP. Hayes has provided leadership within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) for the past 25 years and served as the Acting Director of OIDP since September 2020, in addition to an extensive background in public health and HIV, viral hepatitis, and STI leadership.

HHS Releases Draft STI Federal Implementation Plan 

On May 31, HHS released a draft version of the STI Federal Implementation Plan 2021-2025 for public comment. This plan outlines the federal commitments to realizing the goals of the Sexually Transmitted Infections National Strategic Plan (STI Plan), the nation’s first-ever five-year plan which aims to reverse the dramatic rise in STIs in the United States. The STI Plan aims to provide a roadmap for a broad range of stakeholders—including public health, health care, government, community-based organizations, educational institutions, researchers, private industry, and academia—to develop, enhance and expand STI prevention and care programs at the local, state, tribal and national levels over the next five years. Public comments will be accepted through Monday, June 13.

Biden Administration Withdraws Trump-era SUNSET Rule 

On May 27, the Biden Administration withdrew the Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely (SUNSET) rule, issued in the Trump-Pence Administration. The rule, issued in the final months of the Trump Administration, mandated the sunset of any rule or regulation more than 10 years old unless it was reviewed within 5 years. Advocates panned the rule, pointing to the workflow challenges that would result at HHS and its operating divisions as a result of the implementation of unnecessarily burdensome administrative requirements.

NASTAD Calls on Secretary of Defense to End Discriminatory Military Qualifications Against PLWH 

On May 19, NASTAD joined a coalition of public health and LGBTQ rights organizations and called on the Secretary of Defense to end categorical bars to the enlistment, deployment, and commissioning of people living with HIV in the US military. The advocates point to a Virginia federal district court judge’s ruling that current prohibitions to the deployment and commissioning of people living with HIV are not supported by any rational basis and are therefore unconstitutional as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Removing the discriminatory military prohibitions would align the Department of Defense policies with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which calls for reducing stigma and discrimination against PLWH.

CDC Closes Out 2022 Hepatitis Awareness Month 

On May 17, the NCHHSTP Director and Division of Viral Hepatitis Director issued a Dear Colleague Letter summarizing the nation’s work to eliminate viral hepatitis during Hepatitis Awareness Month. As part of the awareness month events, CDC observed National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day on May 15 and National Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19 to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and promote interventions that prevent new infections by encouraging screening, testing, and immunization. The Directors point to the work ahead that could be accomplished with a budgetary increase and recommit the nation to prioritizing prevention programs in high-burden jurisdictions and high-impact settings to reach priority populations that lack equitable access to health care services.

SAMHSA Announces First-Ever Harm Reduction Grant Program Awardees 

On May 19, SAMHSA published the list of individual grant recipients for the nation’s first-ever Harm Reduction Grant Program. The program, authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, provides funding and support for community-based harm reduction providers to address the dramatic increase in overdose deaths and stem the transmission of HIV and HCV among drug users. Due to backlash from Republican Congressmen, the Biden Administration clarified that no funding under the harm reduction grant program would be used to purchase safer smoking supplies.

FDA Publishes Rule Down Classifying HIV Serological and Nucleic Acid Diagnostic and Supplemental Tests 

On May 16, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final order that reclassifies certain human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) serological diagnostic and supplemental tests and HIV nucleic acid (NAT) diagnostic and supplemental tests, postamendments class III devices with the product code MZF, into class II (special controls), subject to premarket notification. The down classification will reduce the regulatory burdens associated with bringing these device types to market, as manufacturers will no longer be required to submit a premarket approval application (PMA) but can instead submit a premarket notification (510(k)) and receive clearance before marketing their device. The order will go into effect on June 15.


National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC) Info Session 

Date: Monday, June 13 from 3-4 pm ET 

NASTAD is pleased to announce that on Monday, June 13 from 3-4 PM ET, CDC and SAMHSA will host an information session about the National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC). The eight NHRTAC providers, including NASTAD, seek to build on proven methods of harm reduction technical assistance delivery—programmatic resources, peer support and mentoring, demonstration, and program models—to provide coordinated TA to new and established community-led harm reduction efforts, including syringe services programs (SSPs) across the United States and territories.  

APHL/CDC Summary Report: Identifying High-Priority Diagnostic Approaches for Advancing Hepatitis C Elimination in the US 

CDC Webinar: National HIV Testing Day

Date: Wednesday, June 8 at 1 pm ET 

Featuring a panel discussion led by DaShawn Usher, of GLAAD and Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI), this webinar will provide you with information and tools you can use to plan for your National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) outreach. Join us and learn how HIV testing is an act of self-care and how knowledge of status can enable individuals regardless of their status to live long and healthy lives.

S4HI and Network for Long COVID Justice Fact Report: Resourcing the HIV Community to Face COVID & Long COVID in 2022 

Strategies for High Impact (S4HI) and our Network for Long COVID Justice published a new report detailing resources, challenges, and recommendations for the HIV community to face the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in 2022. NASTAD co-sponsored the project. 

CDC MMWR: Factors Associated with Use of HIV Prevention and Health Care Among Transgender Women — Seven Urban Areas, 2019–2020 

“During 2019–2020, 38% of transgender women surveyed in seven major U.S. cities reported receiving a previous positive HIV test result. Low income, experiencing homelessness, and severe food insecurity were common and associated with lower likelihood of receipt of HIV prevention and health care.” 

FCAA Report: Philanthropic Support to Address HIV and AIDS 

“Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) today released its 19th annual Philanthropic Support to Address HIV and AIDS report. This year’s analysis shows that total HIV-related philanthropy in 2020 reached $707 million, representing an essentially flat, 1% increase from 2019. Looking a little deeper, the data reveals a dangerous reliance on a shrinking pool of funders.” 

Fenway Health Fact Sheet: Monkeypox and gay and bisexual men 

NEJM Article: HIV Prevention and the 340B Drug Pricing Program 

SAMHSA NOFO: State Opioid Response Grant Program 

SAMHSA is announcing a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding opportunity that will provide nearly $1.5 billion to states and territories to help address the Nation’s opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. The SOR grant program provides formula funding to states and territories for increasing access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), and for supporting prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for OUD and other concurrent substance use disorders (SUD).  

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.

Job Postings 

Program Associate, Harm Reduction – AIDS United 

AIDS United is seeking a Program Associate to provide administrative support and coordination to the organization’s Expanding Syringe Services Programs Capacity to Respond to COVID-19 initiative. This project supports syringe services programs to effectively respond to COVID-19 among people who use drugs with services including vaccination education, referral and linkage, and navigation services. 

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.  

Director of Operations – Boston, MA 

The Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences (BIDLS) at the Department of Public Health (DPH) is seeking an experienced leader who is eager to join a mission-driven and fast-paced team in effectively and efficiently supporting the day-to-day operational needs of BIDLS.  The selected candidate will provide direct and indirect supervision to a total of 55 staff, including 5 Managers, and will oversee an annual budget in excess of $500M. To be successful, the incumbent of this position must be detail-oriented and also must understand the complexities of systems change and implementation in government systems, with the ability to ensure alignment with the Bureau’s and Department’s mission, goals, and objectives. 

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.

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

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 

340B Is Key in the Fight to End Viral Hepatitis 

“In January 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a strategic plan to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. Hospitals participating in the 340B drug pricing program are a key element of that ambitious goal. They are using their 340B savings to achieve measurable improvements in health outcomes for patients with hepatitis C. National Hepatitis Awareness Month provides an opportunity to highlight the best practices 340B hospitals are implementing to treat and cure patients living with the disease.” 

Because of Covid, 2020 was a 'lost year' in the fight against HIV, report suggests 

“Confronted by the Covid-19 pandemic, an ambitious new plan by the federal government, marshaled by Dr. Anthony Fauci, to accelerate the battle against the stubbornly persistent HIV epidemic in the U.S. appears to have made a markedly disappointing debut…The report, which includes 2020 data, follows worrisome previous findings that HIV testing plunged as stay-at-home orders swept the country in March 2020. CDC officials have expressed concern that the extraordinary disruptions the country’s Covid response have caused to HIV-related services have inflicted collateral damage that could take years to undo. It even remains possible that, after decades of hard-fought declines, the national HIV transmission rate has crept up again.” 

Viruses that were on hiatus during Covid are back — and behaving in unexpected ways 

“For nearly two years, as the Covid pandemic disrupted life around the globe, other infectious diseases were in retreat. Now, as the world rapidly dismantles the measures put in place to slow spread of Covid, the viral and bacterial nuisances that were on hiatus are returning — and behaving in unexpected ways… Adenovirus type 41, previously thought to cause fairly innocuous bouts of gastrointestinal illness, may be triggering severe hepatitis in healthy young children.”