If Congress fails to act, automatic spending cuts known as "the Sequester" will take effect TOMORROW, March 1. According to estimates by the White House, these cuts could mean at least 424,000 fewer HIV tests will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. A separate analysis done by NMAC and amFAR estimated that more than 10,000 people could lose access to ADAP services.
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According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Sequester will result in an automatic, across the board cut of 5.3% to most non-defense discretionary programs. Applying these cuts to domestic HIV/AIDS programming would provide negligible deficit reduction, but would devastate people living with HIV or AIDS in the United States. It would also damage our nation's leadership in health research and limit our ability to reduce the rate of new HIV infections, improve access to care and address the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color.
According to estimates done by NMAC and amFAR, these cuts could mean at least:
- 10,130 Americans living with HIV/AIDS will lose access to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides life-saving medication to low-income PLWHA. Recent research has shown that, in addition to saving and improving the lives of PLWHA, HIV treatment reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to an uninfected partner by 96 percent.
- More than 6,760 people of color would lose access to ADAP services.
- Under the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), which provides housing and supportive assistance to PLWHA who are unable to afford housing, 1,360 fewer households would receive permanent housing and 1,870 fewer households would receive short-term assistance to prevent homelessness. Research demonstrates a direct relationship between improved housing status and reduced HIV risk behaviors.
- 1,920 households that include at least one person of color would lose HOPWA housing services; 580 households that include at least one Hispanic person would lose housing services.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which has been at the forefront of AIDS research for 30 years, would lose $163 million in AIDS research funding. 297 AIDS research grants would go unfunded, including 32 specifically funding AIDS vaccine research. It is estimated that AIDS research funded by the NIH has led to a gain of more than 14.4 million life-years globally since 1995.
- Over $41.7 million would be cut from state and local HIV prevention efforts funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including efforts targeting young people and adults especially vulnerable to infection. Among other programs, prevention efforts support testing to help identify the 18 percent of Americans living with HIV who do not know they are infected.
The White House also recently released detailed estimates on the impact of these cuts for each state.
These cuts are bad for America, and bad for people living with HIV or AIDS. Congress must act to avoid the devastating impact that the Sequester will have, not only on our fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but on America's vulnerable and impoverished communities. Tell Congress to stop the sequester today!!
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