Cross-posted from the Office of Management and Budget.
Under the President’s leadership, we have turned our economy around and created 14 million jobs. Our unemployment rate is below five percent for the first time in almost eight years. Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. And we have dramatically cut our deficits by almost three-quarters and set our Nation on a more sustainable fiscal path. Yet while it is important to take stock of our progress, this Budget is not about looking back at the road we have traveled. It is about looking forward and making sure our economy works for everybody, not just those at the top. It is about choosing investments that not only make us stronger today, but also reflect the kind of country we aspire to be – the kind of country we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren. The Budget makes critical investments in our domestic and national security priorities while adhering to the bipartisan budget agreement signed into law last fall, and it lifts sequestration in future years so that we continue to invest in our economic future and our national security. It also drives down deficits and maintains our fiscal progress through smart savings from health care, immigration, and tax reforms. The Budget shows that the President and the Administration remain focused on meeting our greatest challenges – including accelerating the pace of innovation to tackle climate change and find new treatments for devastating diseases; giving everyone a fair shot at opportunity and economic security; and advancing our national security and global leadership – not only for the year ahead, but for decades to come.
The Budget advances the President’s commitment to reaching an AIDS-free generation in the United States by:
The Budget invests $2.3 billion in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to provide treatment and care completion services for people living with HIV, and includes $900 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program to ensure that people living with HIV have access to life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) treatments. By helping people living with HIV remain in care and on their medications, the Ryan White program plays a critical role in preventing the spread of the HIV epidemic, as recent research has shown that ARV treatment reduces HIV transmission by 96 percent. The Budget also includes funding for a new initiative to increase screening and expands access to Hepatitis C care and treatment among people living with HIV.
The Budget expands access to HIV prevention and treatment activities for millions of Americans through the continued implementation of the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, with a focus on key elements of the Strategy. The updated Strategy calls for providing more people with highly effective prevention services such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce new HIV infections. PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent in people who are at high risk. The Budget includes $20 million for a new innovative pilot program to increase access to PrEP and allow grantees, as the payer of last resort, to use a portion of funds to purchase the medication and other related healthcare services. In addition, the Strategy calls for prioritizing HIV/AIDS resources within high-burden communities and among high-risk groups, including gay and bisexual men, transgender women, Blacks/African Americans and Latino Americans, which is reflected throughout the Budget.
The Budget provides $335 million for Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program to address housing needs among people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. The program provides States and localities with the resources to create comprehensive strategies for providing housing assistance that gives patients the stability needed for effective treatment. In partnership with Federal agencies, HUD is working to promote greater achievements in viral suppression through the coordination and alignment of housing support with medical care. HUD and the Administration also are proposing legislative reforms that would update HOPWA's grant formula to distribute funds based on more recent CDC data on persons living with HIV, rather than the cumulative number of AIDS cases.
The Budget includes $1.13 billion within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including a $57 million increase for medical care, to ensure that veterans living with HIV/AIDS receive high quality, comprehensive clinical care, including diagnosis of their infection and timely linkage to medical care. Additionally, the VA promotes evidence-based HIV prevention services and is implementing its plan to meet the goals outlined in the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy.