Focus Areas
Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases focuses on legal, regulatory, and policy responses to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. This area includes the development and implementation of legal preparedness instruments.

Featured Projects

HIV Prevention: Assessing Our Progress and Charting a Future Direction

In June 2017, the O’Neill Institute established an HIV Prevention Project to understand what is working in HIV prevention, identify issues and opportunities for progress, and describe future directions for HIV prevention. The goal of the project to engage with federal, state, and local policy and program staff, people living with HIV, researchers and others to explore these issues and describe a vision for future progress. This project is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Gilead Sciences.

Through this project, we will explore three distinct, but related issues: (1) future directions of high impact prevention, (2) exploring interventional surveillance, and (3) addressing HIV prevention among Latino Gay and Bisexual men. The project includes consultation meetings with a broad range of stakeholders and will result in a series of short, policy-relevant issue briefs that documents our national progress and describe issues in ways that can lead to legislative or administration action. The first brief is being developed independently of, but informed by an expert consultation held in Washington, DC in July 2017 and will be released later this year to educate policy makers and inform deliberations related to the federal budget process.

Monitoring the Hepatitis C Epidemic in the United States: What Tools are Needed to Achieve Elimination?

Hepatitis C is the most common cause of viral hepatitis infections in the US, and it can cause severe health complications such as liver cancer or death. It is estimated that 3.5 million Americans currently have Hepatitis C, yet there exists limited data monitoring or case surveillance conducted to determine the full scope of the disease in the US and to inform efforts to reduce prevalence. This brief focuses on the current state of Hepatitis C data monitoring and surveillance, and identifies new practical and achievable policies and actions to strengthen our capacity to work toward elimination.

Improving Laws and Policies for Sex Workers

In December 2016, the O’Neill Institute received a generous grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to explore the impact of laws and policies on sex workers’ access to clinical care and social services and recommend potential criminal law and policy reforms to better support sex workers in Washington DC. This collaboration between the O’Neill Institute, Whitman-Walker Health, and HIPS, with the Institute as the project lead, explores how sex workers in DC access health care; how they interact with law enforcement; and how laws, policies, and practices designed to disrupt commercial sexual activity and/or drug use impede access to HIV prevention and care services.

Blueprint for HIV Biomedical Prevention

The O’Neill Institute is working in partnership with NMAC to examine the status of biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation in the United States. The focus of the project is to explore how to bring the promise of biomedical HIV prevention to all communities highly impacted by HIV. Biomedical HIV prevention offers a range of tools that can effectively prevent HIV infection. These tools include treatment as prevention (TasP), pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Addressing Policy Barriers to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Uptake and Planning for Long-Acting Agents for Treatment and PrEP Treatment and PrEP

In October 2016, the O’Neill Institute received a generous grant from the amfAR Foundation for AIDS Research to examine critical policy issues that impact access, availability and acceptability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and long-acting agents, which are innovative forms of PrEP and HIV treatment that are under development and do not require daily pill taking. The project will explore how to support uptake of effective HIV prevention and treatment modalities for adolescents and young adults, with a focus on young Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

Hepatitis Policy Project

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.

Ryan White Policy Project

The O’Neill Institute has established a Ryan White Policy Project to consider issues related to sustaining and adapting the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (Ryan White) within a changing health care environment. This project is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Gilead Sciences.

Funded by the federal government at nearly $2.3 billion per year, the Ryan White program is the third largest source of financing for HIV care after Medicaid and Medicare and is the cornerstone of the Nation’s response to the domestic HIV epidemic. The purpose of this Ryan White Policy Project is to consider issues that arise as the context in which the program operates is altered both by technological advances and fundamental shifts in health care financing and service delivery with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).