The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) strongly condemns the Trump Administration’s newly released budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018. Among other huge downfalls, the proposal fails to meet the standards of health care essential to supporting our country’s most vulnerable populations, including those living with and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.
President Trump has proposed a $149 million or 19% cut to HIV prevention programs and $27 million or 17% reduction to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s STD program. The budget calls for a $59 million cut to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which has a long history of bipartisan Congressional support and provides primary care and housing to low-income individuals living with HIV and AIDS who are uninsured or underinsured. The Trump administration clearly lied when they assured the public that vital public safety nets like this would remain intact.
Other suggested changes include the elimination of the AIDS Education Training Centers (AETCs) and the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS), which help strengthen and innovate prevention and care services for people living with HIV; cuts to the budget for Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) by $26 million and the National Institutes of Health, and slashes to STD and teen pregnancy prevention programs. President Trump’s newly proposed budget would set back decades of work by the HIV community to eliminate health inequities by those most vulnerable among us. With the number of new HIV diagnoses declining by 18% over the past six years — which has saved both local and federal health care systems billions of dollars in the long term — it is imperative that the progress continues.
“This budget isn’t just a set of numbers to be crunched — it’s a direct reflection on this administration’s values and priorities,” said John Peller, AFC president/CEO. “Federally funded prevention programs like the ones up for elimination under the Trump Administration’s budget are vital to HIV care. All Americans, including those living with and most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, should be prioritized under this proposal.”
By focusing on the bottom line, we are ignoring the lifeline and risking American lives.
AFC calls on Congress to reject President Trump’s budget and work in a bipartisan manner to create one that appropriately funds programs vital to the health of all Americans.