Shaheen Leads Senate Call for Appropriations Committee to Prioritize Robust Funding for STD Clinics in Future Coronavirus Legislation

April 24, 2020

Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has historically led efforts in government funding legislation for investments in STD prevention programming for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Letter comes as reports indicate disruption in STD care for Americans due to COVID-19 outbreak

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee this week, calling on the Committee to support robust funding for state, local and tribal Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) clinics in ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

The Senators highlighted the unique role that these facilities and personnel play in responding to the pandemic due to their specialized training and preparedness in infectious disease. The Senators wrote, “As our country continues to respond to this public health crisis, it will require support from every corner of the healthcare system. STD clinics are uniquely qualified to respond to COVID-19 because their providers have extensive training in infectious diseases, have existing infrastructure to quickly pivot to address emerging threats and already have in place testing and treatment capacity.”

Continuing, the Senators noted that these facilities will need significant federal investments to help meet the demands caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, but to also continue providing their primary services and limit the disruption in critical STD care that must be provided. They wrote, “As STD clinics work to bring COVID-19 under control, there remain concerns about the rising rates of STDs and other infectious diseases. STDs are at epidemic levels, and in a field that is already woefully underfunded, there must continue to be dedicated clinics for testing and treating new cases, otherwise rising STD rates will continue unabated. Data released in October 2019 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that after five years of dramatic increases, combined cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reached all-time highs in the U.S.”

New Hampshire has seen an increase of STD cases over the last few years. In closing, the Senators reiterated the urgent need for this federal support for STD clinics to meet short-term and long-term needs with regard to the outbreak and necessary investments in the United States’ public health infrastructure.

The letter can be read in full here.

Senators Hassan (D-NH), Feinstein (D-CA), Smith (D-MN), Blumenthal (D-CT) and Murphy (D-CT) also signed the letter.