On every September 18, National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day brings attention to the growing number of people living long, full lives with HIV, and to their health and social needs. It is also a reminder for our aging friends to get tested and know their HIV status.
These three facts from CDC put HIV among older adults into context:
- In 2014, an estimated 45% of Americans living with diagnosed HIV were aged 50 and over.
- An estimated 17% (6,725) of the 39,513 HIV diagnosed in 2015 were among Americans aged 50 and older.
- Compared with younger people, people over the age of 55 who are living with HIV are more likely to know their HIV status and to be virally suppressed.
**People in this age group share many of the same risk factors as younger people.**
The importance of being routinely tested, and starting treatment right away if diagnosed with HIV, can not be stressed enough. For many people, treatment involves one pill per day. These medications not only can help you have a long, healthy life, they also suppress your viral load (number of virus copies in a standardized sample of blood). The lower your viral load is, the lower your chance of transmitting the virus. Most people reach what is called "undetectable" which means you won't pass on the virus to others. For more information about #UequalsU and Undetectectable = Untransmittable, please see: PreventionAccess.org
Trump could take up to $231 MILLION from Ryan White program to pay for his policy of separating families
According to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA):
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured.
Discretionary transfer authority provided by the annual appropriations process allows the HHS secretary to transfer up to 1% of the funds in any HHS budget account to another HHS budget account, meaning that the Trump administration could theoretically transfer up to $231.9 MILLION from Ryan White into the ORR, as they are both housed within HHS.
In the coming days and weeks, we will no doubt learn more about the Trump administration's plans to transfer funding from Ryan White to the ORR, but regardless of what details come to light, we already know everything necessary to vigorously and vehemently oppose this scheme. It is bad enough that the Trump administration has endeavored to take away funding appropriated specifically to provide care to people living with HIV. Had it sought to shift that money to another department to address another pressing health care need, we still would have opposed it. But to take that funding away to tear young children away from their families, imprisoning them in chain-link cages for the crime of existing, is so barbaric and heartless that it warrants an opposition from the HIV advocacy community that is vicious and unyielding.
ADAP Advocacy Association Blasts Trump Administration's Plan to Divert Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Funding to Refugee Camps
"As if separating innocent children from their families at our southern border wasn't bad enough, using limited HIV/AIDS-related resources to pay for it is quite shameful," argued Brandon M. Macsata, CEO of the ADAP Advocacy Association. "It is the latest in a long series of the ill-conceived policies coming out of this White House undermining the fight against HIV/AIDS in this country. Enough is enough!"
Eddie Hamilton, executive director of the Ohio-based ADAP Educational Initiative, echoed the concerns: "Even though the funds are technically unobligated, HHS is aware of the ongoing financial pressures put on the Ryan White program due to the constant erosion of the protections under the Affordable Care Act. As any prudent steward of taxpayer funds, it was saved for a rainy day fund, and the rainy days are now upon us."
To read the full press release (including access to PDF and DOC files), click here.
AIDS United public statement on Trump's misappropriation of Ryan White funds being used to detain children
The following is a statement from AIDS United CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. on reports that the Trump administration is seeking to reallocate funding meant for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to cover the costs associated with resettling children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border:
Washington, DC – “AIDS United is troubled by Slate Magazine’s report that the Trump administration plans to divert funding from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to cover the cost of child detainment tied to its “zero tolerance” immigration policy. We oppose any diversion of Ryan White Program funds for purposes not related to caring for the 1.2 million people living with HIV in this country. We are especially opposed to diverting Ryan White funds to cover the ever-growing costs of a policy that is unnecessary, cruel, and a violation of basic human decency.
“As a payer of last resort, the Ryan White Program covers services for people that have no other means to pay for them. Any shortages in funding to the program would result in essential services not provided to potentially thousands of Americans. This could mean people not receiving life-saving medications or losing insurance coverage because funding was not available to cover their premiums. For an administration that just recently proclaimed its commitment to ending the HIV epidemic in this country, stripping funding from the largest HIV-specific federal program defies all logic.
“This is an entirely Trump-made crisis that this administration has the power to solve at any time, free of charge. By simply reverting to the policy in place during both the Bush and Obama administrations, no child would be separated from his or her family, and there would be no additional costs accrued by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Attempting to pay for this policy on the back of low-income people living with HIV is reprehensible. If reports of this policy are inaccurate, then we urge the administration to state so clearly and publicly. We also urge the administration reconsider its policy of ‘zero tolerance.’ Either way, we insist that not a single penny of funding from the Ryan White Program - or any other unrelated program at HHS - be used for this xenophobic agenda.”