The O’Neill Institute’s Infectious Disease Initiatives are comprised of the National HIV/AIDS Initiative and the Hepatitis Initiative and work collaboratively with the Addiction and Public Policy Initiative. The Infectious Disease Initiatives work to focus on US domestic efforts to respond to the ongoing HIV epidemic, educate the public and support policy responses to promote access to curative Hepatitis C treatment, and address the infectious disease threats associated with drug use epidemics. The Initiatives work with a diverse array of stakeholders, including people living with HIV and Hepatitis and other community representatives, federal, state, and local policymakers, clinicians and researchers, and others to sort through competing ideas, research evidence, and interests to offer effective legal and policy solutions. We disseminate our work in a variety of formats:
- Issue Briefs: documents that synthesize relevant research, summarize key issues, and offer policy recommendations
- Big Ideas Briefs: shorter documents, typically less comprehensive and about a focused issue or policy idea
- Quick Takes: infographics intended to briefly convey factual information for quick reviews
The United States continues to face a very serious HIV epidemic, with 1.1 million Americans living with HIV and roughly 50,000 people becoming newly infected each year. Sustained efforts have been made over the past thirty plus years to fight HIV at home and around the world, and major progress has been made. Now is a unique moment of opportunity for better supporting all people living with HIV in this country and improving their engagement in care and health outcomes. In turn, by extending treatment and strengthening support for communities heavily impacted by HIV, we can reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV each year and reduce both the disparities in infection rates and health outcomes across populations.
The Hepatitis Policy Project (HPP) focuses on issues and barriers of access to effective treatments for hepatitis C. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis C-related deaths are on the rise as are rates of liver disease and liver cancer, which are often caused by hepatitis C. The agency also says the vast majority of adults infected with hepatitis C are baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) and most don’t know they have it. Many were infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of the disease were highest.