For Immediate Release
SOUTHERN UNITED STATES (July 18, 2023) – Last week, the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and related Agencies (LHHS) released an appropriations bill for FY2024 that, if passed, will institute drastic funding cuts that will have far-reaching and detrimental effects on vital programs aimed at eliminating the HIV epidemic and supporting vulnerable communities.
Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) strongly denounces the proposed appropriations bill, which would slash close to $500 million in funding for programs working to end the HIV epidemic in the United States, with devastating consequences for the most impacted communities, particularly in the South. Despite comprising only 38% of the US population, the South faces 52% of new HIV transmissions. Programs like the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative (EHE) have been instrumental in achieving tangible progress in the region.
The bill further proposes an 18% cut to CDC funding and a 12% reduction in HHS funding, leading to the complete elimination of vital programs like Title X, which provides essential reproductive health services to low-income individuals and plays a crucial role in teen pregnancy prevention efforts.
The bill’s detrimental impact extends further, with significant cuts to key institutions and initiatives, including:
“These proposed cuts jeopardize the well-being of those living with and impacted by HIV in the South”, says SAC Executive Director, Dafina Ward. “They will have profound consequences for those in rural communities, the uninsured, women, LGBTQ+ communities, and individuals who already endure significant hardships due to policy decisions of the past. The cuts would set the nation back years, setting off a public health crisis that erases progress made from bipartisan efforts to eliminate HIV transmissions in this country.”
“In the face of these detrimental funding cuts, every voice is necessary. We must unite, raise our voices, and mobilize to protect vital HIV programs”, says SAC’s Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Will Ramirez. “Congressional leaders need to hear from us and be educated about the urgency of this moment. The very health and well-being of their constituents is at stake. Collective strength and unwavering commitment will ensure that essential HIV programs are safeguarded, protecting the health and well-being of our communities in the South.”
SAC stands in solidarity with southern communities, declaring that these detrimental cuts must not be allowed to stand unchallenged. We call upon lawmakers to recognize the gravity of their decisions and work towards a comprehensive and compassionate response to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.
DEMAND ACTION: sign on to our letter urging the Senate subcommittee to reject the cuts. This sign-on letter will be sent to the Senate subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Other Agencies to urge them to reject the cuts to vital HIV funding in the House appropriations bill.
For more information, contact Will Ramirez, SAC’s Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, at [email protected].