This is one part of AIDS United’s 2022 Impact Report.
AIDS United’s policy and advocacy portfolio dates to the founding of AIDS Action in 1984. For nearly 40 years, AIDS United has arduously labored to support and uplift people living with and vulnerable to HIV. In doing so, we amplify the voices of those most impacted by HIV so that the HIV community informs and shapes local, regional and federal policy. This includes working with legislators at all levels to advance policies like harm reduction and to secure resources for federal programs like the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS.
Our policy efforts include:
- Educating Congress about HIV.
- Budget and appropriations advocacy.
- Integrating HIV prevention, care and treatment into health care.
- Investment in evidence-based prevention strategies.
- Addressing structural racism.
- Pushing the president’s administration to prioritize HIV.
- Secure housing for everyone living with and vulnerable to HIV.
- Adopting a harm reduction approach.
- Ensuring the meaningful involvement of people living with HIV at all levels.
- Advocating for policy tactics to address the social determinants of health.
In 2022, we rose to the enormous challenges set forth by economic and political turbulence, the aftereffects of COVID-19, a burgeoning mpox outbreak, as well as the effects of climate change, to help champion for more federal funding for those living with and vulnerable to HIV.
Public Policy Council
AIDS United’s Public Policy Council brings together the nation’s leading organizations from across the country to advocate for those of us living with and vulnerable to HIV. There were 56 member organizations on the council in 2022, and they are responsible for setting the policy agenda for the organization.
The Public Policy Council had an incredibly eventful year in 2022 as we returned to in-person convenings. The council held it’s first in-person meeting since February 2020 in Washington, D.C. Attendees held conversations with key administration officials, including Drs. Demetre Daskalakis and Alexa Oster from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, pictured above. AIDS United staff also coordinated meetings between Public Policy Council members and their representatives in Congress. These meetings were successful and allowed for members of the Public Policy Council to ensure the voices of people living with and vulnerable to HIV were heard as we entered another critical midterm election season.
AIDSWatch began 31 years ago with a small group of dedicated HIV advocates and has become the nation’s largest constituent-based HIV advocacy event on the federal level. Those of us living with HIV and our allies gather to tell our stories in the halls of power in Washington, D.C. We advocate for the policies, programs and funding we need to end the HIV epidemic.
AIDSWatch 2022 took place virtually March 27-29 and included three days of virtual plenaries, workshops and meetings with congressional offices. Usually held in-person, AIDSWatch convenes hundreds of allies, supporters, and advocates to meet with members of Congress and their staff and is the largest national, constituent-led HIV advocacy event in the country.
Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine, the first and highest-ranking out transgender person confirmed by Congress, delivered the keynote address, providing an update to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy released by President Biden.
Advocates from 34 states held virtual meetings with more than 135 offices on Capitol Hill.
The advocates pushed for policies in three areas:
- Supporting the health of people living with and vulnerable to HIV.
- Addressing structural and institutional racism and other inequities.
- Increasing funding for programs that address the HIV, STD and overdose epidemics.
These policies help shape and steer AIDS United’s continued advocacy work.
AIDS United was personally contacted by CDC and White House officials to spearhead several projects related to outreach to the HIV community regarding the mpox outbreak, the first of which was a webinar where the HIV community was able to hear directly from the White House about the mpox response.
Additionally, rapid partnerships grew with organizations on a federal level that began work with local communities to uplift their needs and demands that were shared through an action alert that was emailed to members of Congress demanding a collective federal response to their funding and equitable health needs.
340B Work Group
The 340B Work Group is a coalition convened by AIDS United to maintain the 340B Discount Drug Program. It is comprised of 13 community-based HIV service organizations that are also safety-net health care providers. These organizations get HIV services to people in communities harmed by systemic barriers to health care. Collectively, the members of the work group provide care and service to more than 100,000 people in 11 states and Washington, D.C.
The 340B program is an essential part of HIV health care, as it gives provides resources to these community-based organizations. These resources are in turn used to provide HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.