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Congress Caps Funding on AIDS Drugs – Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 provides grant funding to States and U.S. Territories to improve the quality, availability, and organization of HIV/AIDS health care and support services.   Congress designates a portion of the Part B grant funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).  ADAP plays a critical role in providing prescription drugs to low-income people living with HIV who have limited or no access to health care services. Program funds may also be used to purchase health insurance for eligible clients and for services that enhance access to, adherence to, and monitoring of drug treatments.  Recently, Congress passed legislation that will cap spending for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) at approximately $900 million.   Even as the cost of drugs have continued to rise, over the years Congress has taken drastic action to increase funding for ADAPs.  Pressure on ADAP resources has increased significantly with price increase for AIDS drugs outpacing funding for ADAP.   With the spending cap, pressure will shift to companies who make AIDS drugs to lower prices in order to prevent waiting lists for lifesaving care.   To learn more about ADAP, read Part B – AIDS Drug Assistance Program

Abstinence Added to Sex-Ed Legislation by State Senators: House Needs To Reconsider the Bill –  The Colorado Senate sent House Bill 13-1081, a bill designed to update standards for sex education in Colorado schools, back to the state House of Representatives for additional consideration.  The Senate added requirements that sex education programs emphasize abstinence.  The revised Bill sets new standards that address safe sex, abstinence and requires parents to opt-out of sex education classes instead of the former requirement that they approve their children’s participation.   It would require funds be spent on age-appropriate, evidence-based, culturally sensitive, medically accurate, comprehensive human sexuality programs that emphasize positive youth development.  Read the full version of Colorado’s Sex-Ed Legislation here. Currently, twenty-two states and the District of Columbia require public schools to teach sex education; thirty-three states and the District of Columbia require students receive instruction about HIV/AIDS; eighteen states require sex education curricula to be medically accurate and/or age appropriate.   Policies about parental involvement vary, with thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia requiring school districts to allow parental involvement in sexual education programs.  Learn more about State Policies on Sex Education in Schools here.

HHS Announces Actions to Improve Safety and Quality of Child Care – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a new regulation that will require states, territories and tribes to strengthen their standards to better promote the health, safety and school readiness of children in federally funded child care.   Under the proposed rule, states would require that all CCDF-funded child care providers: receive health and safety trainings in specific areas; comply with applicable state and local fire, health and building codes; receive comprehensive background checks (including fingerprinting); and receive on-site monitoring.  The proposed rule would only apply directly to child care providers who accept Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) funds. More than 500,000 providers serve about 1.6 million low-income children through CCDF. The rule would also require states to share information with parents through user-friendly websites about provider health, safety and licensing information.  HHS is requesting the public’s input on this proposed regulation.  Read the full press release.

House Bill Aims to Expand Nutrition Education – Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-PA, has introduced a bill that would require local education agencies participating in the National School Lunch program to provide 50 hours of nutrition education to students each year under its wellness policy. The bill, known as the Nutrition Education Act, recommends that nutrition education be integrated not only into health courses, but incorporated into traditional course subjects like math and science.   With enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate and culturally-relevant activities children will learn about the importance of nutritional energy balance (caloric food intake vs. physical activity).  Read a summary of the full bill.