HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 17

Health and Substance Use, a position with
substantial influence on the HIV epidemic,
including response to transmission among
people who use drugs. She may be the first advocate
for harm reduction in the position but
is still subject to Senate confirmation.
There is additional speculation that an
upcoming Biden Administration would restore
the position of the Director of Office of
National AIDS Policy, a position that was not
filled during the Trump Administration. The
picks so far place a priority on expertise and
the effective ability to manage and run large
scale health programs.
ADVANCING POLICY PLANS
With these new hires, the first task of the
Biden Administration has been to gain
control of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
While the future of the pandemic is unclear,
as of this writing, there has been a strong
focus on vaccination, including support of
grassroots organizers to educate communities
on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
This focus has resulted in one legislative victory
thus far, passage through both chambers
of Congress of the American Rescue Plan.
The Plan expands benefits for those impacted
by COVID-19, supplements unemployment
benefits, provides $20 billion in emergency
rental insurance and supported state, local
and tribal health departments with $350
billion. One small but notable development
is that the American Rescue Plan includes a
$30 million line providing emergency funding
for harm reduction programs and has stated
that funds may be used to purchase syringes
by syringe-services programs. This is the first
time that funding has been designated for
harm reduction, a notable step forward on a
highly politicized issue in the U.S.
The Administration has additionally taken
action to shore up healthcare in the U.S.
and defend and expand the ACA. As a result,
they reopened the open enrollment period
ensuring that people who missed the previous
deadline now have healthcare coverage
during the pandemic. The Administration
has also taken several executive actions
including to ensure protections for LGBTQ
people and people living with HIV under the
ACA and allowing undocumented people
access to healthcare without penalty.
THE ROLE OF CONGRESS
In the meantime, the new 117th Congress has
also been busy with HIV issues that could
come up in the next Congress and reviewing
the legislative agenda. The newly elected
members of Congress were sworn in on
January 3rd and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was
reelected Speaker of the House. Democrats
have a narrow majority in the House with 222
votes to 211 for Republicans. The Senate is
evenly divided 50/50 with the Vice President
holding a tie-breaking vote, for those votes
not subject to a filibuster. Achieving legislative
success for the Biden Administration
will likely be determined by the ability to hold
various coalitions of Democrats together and
to attract the few moderate Republicans who
might consider voting across party lines.
Congress' healthcare agenda will remain a
major priority due to the COVID-19 pandemic
and ongoing attacks on the ACA through
the courts. One overlooked issue is that
overdose rates have steadily climbed since
the beginning of the pandemic, potentially resulting
in over 100,000 overdose deaths this
year alone, representing a nearly 40 percent
increase in deaths over the highest level ever.
With President Biden's focus on ending
the HIV epidemic by 2025, many key members
of Congress have offered their support.
Therefore, it is likely that legislation will
emerge to implement such a plan. PrEP is
likely to play a major role in ending the HIV
epidemic and there have already been several
bills introduced in Congress to increase the
availability of PrEP. Look for the PrEP Access
and Coverage Act sponsored by Rep. Adam
Schiff (D-CA) and the PrEP Assistance
Program Act by Rep. Bonnie Watson
Coleman (D-NJ) to be reintroduced.
The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act
and the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act are
expected to be reintroduced this Congress as
well. The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act
awards grants for comprehensive sex education
for adolescents. The REPEAL Act would
require the federal government to conduct a
national review of federal and state criminal
and civil commitment laws and policies and to
create best practices to eliminate discrimination.
Both bills are both likely to be reintroduced
relatively early in the new Congress.
On March 26th, representatives Lisa Blunt
Rochester (D-DE), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and
Nikema Williams (D-GA) reintroduced the
HIV Epidemic Loan-Repayment Program
(HELP) Act to address HIV workforce shortages.
The HELP Act, a piece of legislation that the
Academy has been championing, will provide
up to $250,000 in loan repayment for up to five
years of service to physicians, nurse practitioners,
physician assistants, dentists and
clinical pharmacists who treat or provide oral
healthcare to people living with HIV in a health
professionals shortage area or at a clinical site
funded by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program.
It is conceivable that the U.S. has the
capability to end the epidemic in the U.S.
While HIV is still politicized, ending the
epidemic has attracted bipartisan support in
Washington. Notable HIV initiatives such as
PEPFAR and the EHE initiatives are associated
with Republican presidents.
On her first full day in the White House,
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited WhitmanWalker
Health, a federally qualified health services
clinic that has long provided HIV/AIDS
services in Washington, D.C. Amidst all the
turmoil of policy and politics, it showed that
there is still compassion and understanding
for people with HIV. And perhaps it highlights
the Administration priorities of healthcare
issues. HIV advocates in the U.S. have high
expectations for this Administration and
hopefully they are poised to deliver. HIV
WILLIAM D. MCCOLL, ESQ., is
currently the owner of McColl Strategies
a private unincorporated firm providing
consulting, strategy and planning for
federal and state level public health,
criminal justice and harm reduction policy issues. He is
a long-time advocate on behalf of criminal justice
reform, healthcare policy, and HIV/AIDS and alcohol
and other drug treatment and reform issues. An expert
in Congressional appropriations and advocacy, he is
currently consulting with organizations regarding the
response to COVID-19, criminal justice sentencing
alternatives, HIV/AIDS issues and overdose prevention.
He has long worked to enact and implement healthcare
reform, effectively advocated for ending the ban on
federal funding for syringe exchange, multiple
successful reauthorizations including SAMHSA and the
Ryan White CARE Act, treatment instead of
incarceration, almost all facets of HIV national policy,
ending HIV-specific criminal prosecutions throughout
the U.S. and other state level advocacy.
WWW.AAHIVM.ORG HIVSPECIALIST JUNE 2021 17
http://WWW.AAHIVM.ORG

HIV Specialist - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HIV Specialist - June 2021

HIV Specialist - June 2021 - Cover1
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - Cover2
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 1
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 2
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 3
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 4
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 5
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 6
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 7
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 8
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 9
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 10
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 11
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 12
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 13
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 14
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 15
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 16
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 17
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 18
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 19
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 20
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 21
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 22
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 23
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 24
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 25
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 26
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 27
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 28
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 29
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 30
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 31
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 32
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 33
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 34
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 35
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 36
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 37
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 38
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 39
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 40
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 41
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 42
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 43
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 44
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 45
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 46
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 47
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 48
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 49
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 50
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 51
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 52
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - Cover3
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/hiv-specialist-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/hiv-specialist-march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G121337_AAHIV_122020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G119632_AAHIV_092020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G118334_AAHIV_062020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/G116663_AAHIVM_032020
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com