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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.