September 19, 2012
Washington, D.C. -- In a letter sent to Congressional leaders today, The AIDS Institute outlined $538 million in automatic spending cuts that would occur due to sequestration to four federal programs that people with HIV/AIDS depend upon for their lifesaving care and treatment, or which work to prevent future HIV infections. Unless Congress and the President come to an agreement on another option in the next couple of months, these cuts will automatically occur on January 2, 2013, because an agreement on how $1.2 trillion in budget cuts was not reached.
"With 50,000 new infections each year and a record 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, with only 25 percent of them with a suppressed viral load, our Nation cannot afford to turn its back on addressing the domestic HIV/AIDS crisis," wrote leaders of The AIDS Institute. "It is imperative that alternatives to sequestration be identified and agreed upon by the Congress and the President so that these drastic cuts will not automatically occur."
The cuts of 8.2 percent represent just those that will occur in the first of nine years of planned cuts and are in addition to some previous year funding reductions. Based on a calculation using FY12 spending levels: 1) funding for HIV prevention at the CDC would be cut by $64 million; 2) the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which provides care, treatment and support services to over half a million low income people with HIV/AIDS would be cut by $196 million, including $77 million from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program; 3) AIDS research at the NIH, which benefits both domestic and global AIDS, would be cut by $251 million; and 4) the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program would be cut by $27 million. The total of these first year cuts would be $538 million.
The cut to ADAP could translate into approximately 9,400 patients losing access to their medications.
People with HIV/AIDS, many of whom are very poor, depend on other discretionary and non-discretionary programs in addition to those outlined above to keep them healthy that would also be impacted by sequestration.
In its letter, The AIDS Institute urged the Congress "to find a balanced solution to our Nation's fiscal situation. We understand there are serious budget concerns, but we also know that HIV/AIDS is an infectious disease that must be addressed by public health and our federal government must protect our Nation's most vulnerable, including people living with HIV/AIDS."