Obama Administration Continues to Take Bold Steps on HIV
July 17, 2014 by Noël Gordon, Senior Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity
The federal government issued two major announcements this week that build on the administration’s ongoing efforts to combat the domestic HIV epidemic.
On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an $11 million funding opportunity “to support the integration of high‐quality HIV services into primary care through innovative partnerships between health centers and state health departments in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York.”
The initiative – made available through the Affordable Care Act and the Secretary’s Minority Initiatives AIDS Fund – seeks to better integrate comprehensive HIV-related services into community health centers. This funding is particularly important since many Americans – including those at-risk for HIV – rely on community health centers to meet their primary care needs.
The other major announcement came from the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where the agency called on states to modernize their HIV criminalization statutes.
Nearly thirty states have specific laws in place that have been used to prosecute people living with HIV. While originally intended to promote disclosure of one’s HIV status, these laws often run counter to public health, discourage HIV testing, and perpetuate stigma against people living with HIV. According to DOJ, “generally the best practice would be for states to reform these laws to eliminate HIV-specific criminal penalties," except in exceptional circumstances.
HRC applauds the administration for taking these decisive actions to combat the HIV epidemic.
Click here for a full list of HRC resources on HIV prevention, treatment and care.
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