Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress.
In case you missed it, on Wednesday, May 8, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) appropriations bill. Included in the bill was an important $10 million increase for STD prevention, the first proposed increase since 2002!
STD report language was also referenced throughout the bill including around: congenital syphilis; the STI Federal Action Plan; CMS screening; ending the HIV epidemic initiative; opioids; and syphilis, gonorrhea and congenital syphilis research at NIH. You can read the full bill here.
The STD increase could not have been won without the efforts by NCSD members, state and local governmental public health program members, STD clinic administrators, DIS, and many others who worked to tell their story, and the importance of STD prevention programs, to policymakers.
The bill also included an increase of $16.9 million to the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), and $140 million of new funding to the CDC National Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention for Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative, of which STDs were featured prominently.
The approval of this bill is just the first step in a long process, and the increase in funding for STDs is not yet assured. The rest of the appropriations cycle will require negotiations between the House, Senate and President Trump before a final appropriations bill is passed.
NCSD expects the Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee to begin their appropriations process the first week of June.
On Thursday, May 9, the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) held their second listening session for the STI Federal Action Plan. Participants of the session were asked to consider the following questions for feedback:
During the call the importance of funding for comprehensive, evidence based, and culturally competent sexual health education programs, concern about the lack of funding for STIs, and the need to target populations most affected and stigmatized by the STI epidemic were all raised. NCSD members Bradley Stoner, St. Louis STD/HIV Prevention Training Center and Rebecca Scranton, Arizona Department of Health Services, participated and made important points around how to improve STD screening, testing and treatment.
OHAIDP is requesting written comments for the plan by June 3. NCSD is compiling all of the community comments into one document, to submit your recommendations please do so here by May 24th