Hepatitis C Seminar In Missoula

On Thursday, April 25th from 5:00pm-6:00pm, Open Aid Alliance is offering the first of three community seminars on hepatitis C. The first presentation will feature Dr. Rebecca Kinney. Dr. Kinney completed medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and did her residency at Family Medicine Residency of Idaho in Boise. She is a family physician specializing in infectious diseases, with specific expertise in hepatitis C. This presentation will provide an overview of hepatitis C infection, transmission, and recommendations for testing. All three seminars are free and open to the public.

Thursday, April 25th, 2013
MCT Center for the Performing Arts (use the Main Street entrance)
Room 302
For more information, call Open Aid Alliance at 406.543.4770 or email stephanie@openaidalliance.org
Please join us for this opportunity to expand your knowledge of hepatitis C

AIDS Activists Arrested At Rehberg’s Office

…for protesting the needle exchange ban “sneaked” into the Federal Funding Bill in December- despite scientific research which shows that it does not promote drug use, but does stem the progress of infectious disease.  From The Missoula Indy:

via wikipedia

A demonstration by AIDS activists Wednesday morning targeted Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana and other congressmen for their role in “sneaking in” a federal ban on clean needle exchange programs. Ten activists were arrested outside Rehberg’s office. Capitol Police put the total number of those arrested at 29; activist organizations say the number was actually 32.

The Huffington Post described the background of the demonstration:

“Rehberg was targeted for his role as chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on health and human services, where he led the effort to ban funding for needle exchange programs, adding it to a House spending bill that funded the federal government through fiscal year 2012…

The ban was originally adopted in 1989 but was finally lifted by Congress in 2009. Republicans lawmakers quietly slipped the ban back into their spending bill in December of last year.”

In addition to Rehberg, activists targeted Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). There were also rallies in New York outside the offices of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The groups taking credit for the demonstrations were Housing WorksHealth Global Access Project and Citiwide Harm Reduction.

Activists are against the ban because studies show that clean needle programs help curb the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, and reduce the rate of new HIV infections among injection drug users by as much as 80 percent. The Huffington Post article also notes that additional research shows “syringe exchange programs do not increase the numbers of injection drug users and can further reduce long-term healthcare costs for people with HIV or hepatitis C.”

Indy reporter Jessica Mayrer wrote a 2010 cover story about outreach workers across Montana working on HIV and hepatitis C prevention programs, and how drastic cuts to funding were affecting their efforts.

The false meme that is promoted is this: clean needles encourage drug use and do not prevent the spread of disease.
The truth is this: clean needles do not significantly increase drug use and do prevent the spread of disease.

The only logical conclusion is this: the lawmakers who promoted this ban want those who use needles to spread and to die of deadly disease.

They are not interested in public health, they are interested in shaming people with disease (addiction, Hep C, HIV). Completely and utterly irresponsible.

Wanted: Members For Montana’s HIV Community Planning Group

Are you interested in community service? Do you want to help shape Montana’s HIV policies, treatment strategies and prevention interventions?

English: The Red ribbon is a symbol for solida...

I have a challenge for you.

Montana’s Community Planning Group for the Prevention of HIV (CPG) needs active community voices from around the state to provide valuable input and experience regarding HIV/AIDS in Montana. I have been active in this group for the last four years, and I would encourage anyone interested to apply- especially if you are involved with HIV education, prevention, treatment and/or are a person living with HIV. From the DPHHS Website:

The Community Planning Group (CPG) is an advisory group instrumental in the planning and implementation of HIV prevention interventions in Montana. CPG helps ensure that target populations are represented in the planning of state prevention efforts. The CPG consists of 36 members and is coordinated by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services HIV/STD Section.

Membership in the CPG requires a firm commitment.  The following is a basic outline of what this commitment entails:

  • Attend and actively participate in all CPG meetings to the fullest extent of your ability.  This usually includes 4 meetings each year. Meetings typically include a full day on a Friday and a half day on a Saturday.  Travel expenses are paid.
  • Speak for your Community Representation to the benefit of the community group.  Each member is assigned to represent a specific community group and needs to be able and willing to do so.
  • Actively participate in a workgroup.  Workgroups conduct business and meet during and possibly outside of the full CPG meetings as needed.  This work is usually conducted through e-mail or phone conferences, but may occasionally include a meeting that requires travel.

Our challenge has always been getting broad community representation from all communities affected by HIV in Montana. I’m asking you to consider this opportunity- and/or passing it on to someone you think would make a good representative.

Please click on the application link below for more information. We’d love to have you!

CPG Application 2011              Application Deadline is January 16

Breakdown Of The House HHS Appropriations Bill

Yep, it’s awful. They are funding $4 billion less than last year. $4 Billion.


The Republican majority of the House Appropriations Committee released their draft version of the FY2012 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill with a budget that was $4 billion less than FY2011.  There is no markup scheduled for this bill, thus members of the Subcommittee will not be able to weigh-in on the proposed bill. The funding levels contained in this bill will serve as the House marker when in conference negotiations on final spending levels with the Senate. As this is a draft bill, there is no report language, so some details on funding levels are not known.  NASTAD has included an updated chart. (link is below)

The bill includes many policy riders, targeting funding for syringe exchange programs, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood. The bill bans the use of federal funding for syringe exchange programs. The bill also includes language that prohibits funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including the elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. In addition, Planned Parenthood and its affiliates can only receive funding after certifying that the organization will not perform abortions with non-federal funds.

Both the House and the Senate have voted on a continuing resolution that will fund government programs through November 18.

Some of the House draft bill highlights include:

Department of Health and Human Services:

Health Resources and Services Administration

Ryan White Program

The House bill flat funds all parts of the Ryan White Program, including ADAP. The Senate bill includes a $15 million increase to ADAP bringing the total to $900 million and it flat funds all other parts of the Ryan White Program.

Family Planning

The Title X Family Planning program was eliminated in the House bill. The program was flat funded at $299.4 million in the Senate version of the bill.

Community Health Centers

Community Health Centers received a decrease of $4.7 million from FY2011 in the House version of the bill. The Senate bill increased funding for Community Health Centers by $200 million from FY2011.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB

In the House bill, funding for the Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention was reduced by $32.7 million.  There is not detail about how these cuts will be divided among the Divisions or if DASH will be included in the Center.

The Senate bill level funds CDC’s HIV/AIDS and STD prevention programs, including HIV prevention by health departments, HIV surveillance, the Enhanced HIV Testing Initiative and Improving HIV Program Effectiveness Program. DASH was flat funded as well. The Division of Viral Hepatitis received an increase of $10 million for testing.

Needle Exchange

The House version of the bill bans the use of federal funds for syringe exchange programs, whereas the Senate version of the bill maintains current law on the use of federal funding for syringe exchange.


The House bill does not provide detail about funding of the Section 317 Immunization Program. The program received a $50 million increase from FY2011 in the Senate bill.

Prevention Block Grant

The Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant was funded at $100 million, a $19.1 million increase from FY2011 in the House version of the bill. The program was eliminated in the Senate version of the bill and the President’s budget proposal.

Prevention and Public Health Fund

In the House version of the bill, all funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund was eliminated. In the Senate version of the bill, the Prevention and Public Health Fund received an increase of $135 million.

Agency for Children and Families

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative

The House bill reduced funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative by $84.7 million to $20 million. In addition to this reduction, the House bill provides $20 million for the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) grant program, which was previously not funded and the bill removes language requiring the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative programs to be evidence based.

The Senate bill level funds the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, maintains language requiring programs to be evidence based, and does not provide any funding for the CBAE program.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The House bill’s funding of SAMHSA is still being determined. In the Senate bill, SAMHSA Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration was level funded at $63 million. The Senate Committee also encouraged SAMHSA to develop a demonstration project on hepatitis education and testing for patients and providers.

 National Institutes of Health

NIH received an increase of $1 billion in the House bill, bringing their total funding to $31.7 billion. The House bill also eliminates the transfer of $297 million from the NIH to the Global HIV/AIDS Fund. The Senate decreased NIH by $190 million from FY2011 levels and requested a transfer of $299 million to the Global HIV/AIDS Fund.

Department of Housing and Urban Development:

 Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS

The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill flat funds the HOPWA program, while the Senate bill reduces the HOPWA program by $4.3 million, for a total of $330 million.   

State Department:


The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill provided $7.1 billion for global health programs, but does not specify a funding amount for the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria. The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill eliminated the $300 million transfer from NIH to the Global HIV/AIDS Fund.

The Senate State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill provided $5.6 billion for global HIV/AIDS programs. The Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria was flat funded at $750 million (and $299 million in the Senate Labor HHS bill) and Bilateral HIV/AIDS received $50 million less than FY2011.

FY2012 Appropriations Chart 10-6-11