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SAC Policy Center

The Southern AIDS Coalition Policy Center, in collaboration with its members and national partners, support, review, and synthesize the most accurate evidence related to the Southern HIV/AIDS epidemic – state and federal HIV/AIDS epidemiological data, data focused on MSM in the South, impact of healthcare reform legislation on HIV/AIDS in the South, issues related to housing people with HIV disease in the South. The SAC Policy Center works with researchers, practitioners, advocates and policymakers to promote the use of evidence-based programming and research in policy decisions regarding the Southern HIV/AIDS crisis.

Coalition Recommends for Mississippi Division of Medicaid to Eliminate Prior Authorization Requirements

April 4, 2016

David J. Dzielak, Ph.D. Executive
Director Mississippi Division of Medicaid
550 High Street, Suite 1000
Jackson, Mississippi 39202

RE: Recommendation to Eliminate Prior Authorization Requirements

Dear Dr. Dzielak:

We, the undersigned community organizations and clinics, are writing to strongly urge the Mississippi Division of Medicaid to eliminate prior authorization requirements for two antiretroviral medications (Stribild® and Triumeq®) by adding both to the universal preferred drug list. This recommendation is based upon sound scientific evidence as well as our experience serving the more than 10,000 Mississippians living with diagnosed HIV infection.

The HIV epidemic in Mississippi is among the worst in the nation. According to the most recent CDC surveillance data (from 2014), Mississippi ranks 8th among states in rate of new HIV diagnosesi, and Jackson ranks 4th among metropolitan areas.ii The state ranks 5th in rate of new stage three (AIDS) diagnoses.iii Nearly one-third (32%) of those diagnosed with AIDS in Mississippi die within five years.iv Clearly, too few people living with HIV are benefiting from treatment in Mississippi. The state estimates that only 35% of Mississippians with diagnosed HIV infection achieve viral suppression, far below the goal of 80% established by the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS).v,vi For Mississippi to achieve the goals of the NHAS by 2020, the Mississippi Division of Medicaid (DOM) must ensure that all low-income people living with HIV have unfettered access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, including the newest and most effective single tablet regimens.

To read the complete recommendation, please click HERE.

ONAP LetterSAC and SASI offer Recommendations fo Federal Implementation Plan of the NHAS, Update 2020

Birmingham, AL- This week, the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) and the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative (SASI) presented a letter to the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. In the letter, the organizations offered comments to help inform the Federal Implementation Plan for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Update to 2020 in light of the epidemic in the Southern US.

Follow this link for the entire Letter: SAC/SASI Recommendations to NHAS
Follow this link for a summary of the recommendations: SAC/SASI 2020 Recommendations

Ryan White H R 4260 - pngRyan White Patient Equity and Choice Act (H.R. 4260): A Community Perspective: Rep. Renee Ellmers [R-NC-2] introduced a house bill, “The Ryan White Patient Equity and Choice Act,” H.R. 4260, on March 14, 2014.  As an organization working on behalf of people living with HIV in the South, the Southern AIDS Coalition has a number of concerns regarding the proposed legislation. The Ryan White Program is an essential lifeline for individuals and families infected and affected by HIV. It is through careful thought and a process of community input that an appropriate piece of legislation can be drafted to address disparities in HIV treatment and care and continue to provide comprehensive services to all people living with HIV.

HOPWA Policy Statement - pngHOPWA Modernization Proposal: Need for Community Consensus: The President’s FY 2015 budget proposal, released in March 2014, included an outline of the update to the HOPWA program. The proposal included a number of significant changes, namely a momentous change to the HOPWA funding formula. The Southern AIDS Coalition has long supported an update to the HOPWA funding formula that would be based on living HIV/AIDS cases, but it is vitally important to gain community consensus on how to implement changes fairly and without destabilizing existing HIV/AIDS housing programs.


Microsoft Word - Southern States Manifesto- Update 2012.docxSouthern States Manifesto: Update 2012: Numerous political, social, and health care issues affect men and women living with and fighting HIV in the South. The Southern States Manifesto: Update 2012 provides a detailed analysis of the current and complex issues that plague this region in crisis. With the Manifesto, SAC hopes to bring light and understanding to these issues and further encourage all individuals to use the Southern States Manifesto: Update 2012 as a tool and a resource to participate in HIV advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national level.

img_housing_personsHousing Persons with HIV Disease: Persons who are homeless are more likely to be HIV positive. The health outcomes of HIV-positive persons are improved with stable housing.

img_ryan_whiteSouthern AIDS Coalition Supports Ryan White Reauthorization and Community Consensus Document: New Leadership Enables Organization to Fight HIV Disease in the Area of the Country Most Impacted by the Epidemic.

img_policy_brief2009 – 2010 HIV/AIDS Health Care Policy Brief and Recommendations: The timing of The Southern AIDS Coalition’s release of 2009 – 2010 HIV/AIDS Health Care Policy Brief and Recommendations coincides with the monumental effort to enact health care reform in the United States within the context of major state and federal budget shortfalls and deficits. Southern states face a nearly $20 billion collective shortfall for fiscal year 2010 and as a result most states are predicting major Medicaid cuts in the near future.

img_reformThe Potential Impact of Health Care Reform on HIV in the South: The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) supports Health Care Reform that 1) results in resources and systems focused to reduce new HIV infections; 2) provides treatment, care, and housing for those living with HIV; and 3) covers all Americans. The response to HIV disease requires proven, evidence-based public health approaches to coordinate payers and providers in the provision of prevention, care, treatment, and housing interventions that maximize individual health and minimize societal cost. SAC’s approach to Health Care Reform starts with the need to amass adequate resources for the Southern region to meet the many demands of those living with or at risk of HIV infection.

img_stormStill Caught in the Storm: Still Caught in the Storm was written to advance HIV prevention and patient care efforts among men who have sex with other men in the South. This is a “plain language” report on data collected by Southern AIDS Coalition and Urban Health.

img_behaviorAIDS and Behavior: Peer-reviewed article titled “HIV Prevalence Rates Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the Southern United States: Population-Based Estimates by Race/Ethnicity.” States across the U.S. lack effective ways to quantify HIV prevalence rates among men who have sex with men (MSM). We estimated population-based HIV prevalence rates among MSM in the 17 southern states by race/ethnicity. State-level analysis of racial/ethnic-specific MSM HIV prevalence rates referenced in this article can help guide resource allocation and assist advocacy efforts.

Southern-States-Manifesto-2008Southern States Manifesto 2008: The Update 2008 describes what HIV looks like in the South, six years after the Southern AIDS Coalition’s first efforts brought the organization together in a dynamic way to achieve mutually desired public health outcomes through a collaboration of community and government. The report is released after the conclusion of the first year of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006 and of the CDC testing guidelines, Re-vised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health Care Settings. These two important policy events, along with the continued burgeoning need in the South, present an opportunity to coalesce these critical and new advances to focus on very accomplish-able goals.

Southern-States-Manifesto-2002imgSouthern States Manifesto 2002: The first-ever, Southern States Manifesto, is the result of input based on the collective expertise and experience of each of the HIV/AIDS/STD directors and their community based partners in thirteen Southern states and the District of Columbia. The Manifesto was published at a time that over the previous decade, the HIV/AIDS and STD epidemics continued to increase in every southern locality, particularly among poor, disenfranchised, and minority populations. Southern state governments and localities, struggling to find resources for disease prevention, and care and treatment for the growing number of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and/or STDs, outlined the barriers and an urgent call to action of federal, state, and local leaders to recognize the disparate impact of HIV and STDs in the South.