Like Mark Twain’s reading of his own obituary in a local paper, a number of us were bowled over this morning to see details of the House Fiscal Year 2011 spending agreement indicating an end to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s, National Center of HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, and TB Prevention (CDC-NCHHSTP). Late last night, the details of the continuing resolution were posted by House Republicans. Their chart appeared to completely zero out all activities of the NCHHSTP. Though we found it hard to believe, our panic became all that much worse when news outlets like Politico and CNN took the story and ran with it.
Fortunately, the news of its demise was greatly exaggerated.
The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) has confirmed that the center’s budget was not zeroed out. (A corrected chart of reduction in federal spending for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 has been posted.)
This does not mean that the news is all good. The CDC will incur a $730 million cut, but Congress has left the details of this to the Administration and others at the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC. And, cuts to other sexual health programs have also been announced including a $17 million reduction in the Title X family planning program and a $5 million cut to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.
Of course all of this remains tentative until Congress actually passes the agreement (the house is expected to take up the measure on Thursday). Still, it is clear that we can expect many areas of public health to be profoundly impacted by these cuts.