Sending Office: Honorable David N. Cicilline
Sent By:
Ross.Brennan@mail.house.gov

Support Syringe Services Programs in FY19

*This is a language request*

DEADLINE: COB Thursday, March 15th

Current Cosigners: Hastings, Nadler, Ellison, Cohen, Payne, Deutch, Butterfield, Speier, Gomez, Velázquez

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in sending a letter to appropriators requesting that they require the Department of Health and Human Services to report on the implementation of syringe services programs (SSPs) in the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and
Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (Public Law No: 114-113). Sec. 520 of the bill included language lifting the prohibition on using “funds for elements of a [needle exchange] program” at the state
and local level if a jurisdiction is experiencing or at risk of an HIV or hepatitis outbreak. Therefore, we’re asking the committee to direct a report that would include, the number of states, programs or grantees requesting the use of such funds, the number
of people served, the impact of such programs on HIV and hepatitis infection rates, and others.

If you have any questions or would like to cosign, please contact Ross Brennan in Congressman Cicilline’s at
Ross.Brennan@mail.house.gov, M.A. Keifer in Rep. Lee’s office at
M.A.Keifer@mail.house.gov, or Chris Cunningham in Rep. Esty’s office at
Christopher.Cunningham@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

David N. Cicilline

Barbara Lee

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

 

 

Elizabeth H. Esty

 

Member of Congress

 

 

March XX, 2018

The Honorable Tom Cole

Chairman

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education,

and Related Agencies

2358B Rayburn Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Rosa DeLauro

Ranking Member

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education,

and Related Agencies

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

We write to respectfully request you include language requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to report on the implementation of syringe services programs (SSPs) in the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Appropriations bill. 

On December 18, 2015, then President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (Public Law No: 114-113). Sec. 520 of this bill included language lifting the prohibition on using “funds for elements of a [needle exchange] program”
at the state and local level if a jurisdiction is experiencing or at risk of an HIV or hepatitis outbreak.

As you may know, people who inject drugs (PWIDs) are disproportionately impacted by HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV). In the United States approximately 10%of new HIV cases and 53% of hepatitis C cases are attributed to injection drug use. In recent years,
there has been a significant rise in HCV infection related to injection drug use in rural and urban areas, largely attributable to a surge in opioid abuse and heroin use. Lastly, studies show that PWIDs are twice as likely to be unaware of their HIV status
as the general public.

Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) are associated with reduced risk for infection of HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood-borne infections.  SSPs can also provide linkage to critical services and programs such as HIV care, treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis
(PrEP), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) services; hepatitis C treatment, hepatitis A and B vaccinations; screening for other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis; partner services; prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission; and other medical,
social, and mental health services.

As the U.S. continues to fight the ongoing opioid/heroin epidemic, it is critical that states and localities have the resources and tools they need to lower the infection rates of HIV and HCV among PWIDS.

Therefore, we request that you include the following report language on the implementation of SSPs in the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill:

The Committee supports Health and Human Services’ (HHS) efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis epidemics in the United States. Furthermore, the committee commends HHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for working with
state and local partners to take necessary steps to reduce the number of new infections of HIV and hepatitis due to intravenous drug use. The committee notes that studies have shown that People Who Inject Drugs (PWIDs) are twice as likely to be unaware of
their HIV status as the general public. The Committee also recognizes that syringe services programs (SSPs) have been associated with reduced risk for infection of HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood-borne infections. In the FY 2016 Consolidated Appropriations
Act (Public Law No: 114-113), Section 520 provided that elements of SSPs may be purchased if it is determined that a state or local jurisdiction “is experiencing, or is at risk for, a significant increase in hepatitis infections or an HIV outbreak due to injection
drug use.”

Therefore, the Committee directs the Secretary of HHS to report on the implementation of Sec. 520 of PL 114-113. The report should include, but not be limited to, the number of states, programs or grantees requesting the use of such
funds, the number of PWIDs served, where information is available the services provided to the PWIDs and the programs to which such PWIDs were linked and, where possible, the impact of such programs on HIV and hepatitis infection rates. This report shall be
submitted to the House Appropriations Committee within 120 days of the enactment of this Act.

Thank you in advance for considering our request and for your ongoing commitment to public health.  We look forward to working with you as we continue to combat the HIV and hepatitis epidemics in the U.S.

Sincerely,

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, HealthCare, Judiciary

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