For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. -- AIDS advocates are today turning their attention to
protecting key victories achieved early this morning with the passage of a
House Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) subcommittee fiscal year 1997
funding bill that includes funding increases for both vital AIDS care and
support programs provided through the Ryan White CARE Act and HIV education and
prevention programs coordinated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
"In this time of partisan battles over how fiscally-conservative one
political party is over the other, these funding increases in AIDS care and HIV
prevention serve as a testimony to the battles AIDS Action and our national
partners have waged to humanize the debate and secure adequate funding levels
for programs that directly affect hundreds of thousands of Americans living
with HIV/AIDS," said Fred Miller, interim executive director of AIDS Action
Council, the nation's leading AIDS advocacy organization.
"However jubilant," added Christine Lubinski, AIDS Action
Council's deputy executive director, "we must be mindful that these
funding increases by no means fully meet the critical funding needs of
communities across the country that are struggling with this epidemic or
fighting an uphill battle to curb its spread. While fighting to preserve the
increases approved today, we must acknowledge that they only scratch the
surface of what is really needed to combat the AIDS epidemic."
AIDS-specific funding increases proposed in the House FY97 Labor/HHS
appropriations bill are:
- $15 million additional funding for CDC HIV prevention programs. This
increase raises federal HIV prevention funding from the FY96 level of $584.1
million to $599.1 million in FY97. The Labor/HHS subcommittee's FY97 HIV
prevention funding level falls below the Clinton administration's request of
$616.5 million. It also falls significantly below the $738.5 million identified
by the National Organizations Responding to AIDS (NORA) coalition of which
AIDS Action Council is a member as the funding level needed to effectively
combat the spread of HIV disease in the next fiscal year.
- $54.9 million additional funding for the Ryan White CARE Act. This increase
raises Ryan White CARE Act funding from its current (FY96) level of $757.3
million to $812.3 million in FY97. The proposed FY97 Ryan White CARE Act
funding level falls below the Clinton administration's request for $830.7
million. It also falls significantly short of the $830.7 million identified by
NORA as the funding level needed to adequately provide AIDS care services to an
ever-growing number of HIV-infected Americans.
The Ryan White CARE Act represents the largest authorization of federal
funds specifically designated to provide AIDS health care and social services,
including prescription drug purchase assistance, outpatient medical care, home
health care, dental care, psychological counseling, and other support services.
The $54.9 million increase in Ryan White CARE Act funding represents an increase
across all five Ryan White CARE Act titles:
- Title I provides emergency assistance to areas (cities) that are
disproportionately affected by the AIDS epidemic. This title garnered a $10
million FY97 funding increase over the current (FY96) level of $391.7
- Title II provides grants to states to help improve the quality and
availability of existing AIDS health care organizations and HIV/AIDS support
services, and funds the state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), which make
AIDS drugs and therapies available to those who cannot afford them. Title II
received a $30 million FY97 funding increase over the FY96 level of $260.8
- Title IIIb, which supports outpatient early intervention HIV services for
people living with HIV/AIDS, received a $5 million FY97 funding increase over
the FY96 level of $56.9 million.
- Title IV, which provides pediatric, adolescent and family comprehensive HIV
care programs, garnered a $5 million FY97 funding increase over the FY96 level
of $29 million.
- Title V funds both the AIDS Dental Reimbursement program and the AIDS
Education and Training Centers (AETC) program. The dental reimbursement program
received a $0.6 million FY97 funding increase over the FY96 level of $6.9
million. The AETC program, which provides critical AIDS care education to AIDS
health care providers, received a $4.3 million FY97 funding increase over the
FY96 level of $12 million.
House Subcommittee Denies OAR Budget Authority
While AIDS advocates are celebrating their success in securing funding
increases for AIDS care and prevention programs, they are expressing outrage
that while the House Labor/HHS subcommittee has proposed a 6.5 percent funding
increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), not one dime of the
proposed $1.5 billion NIH research funding is earmarked for AIDS research.
For the second consecutive year, the GOP congressional leadership has
eliminated the consolidated budget authority over AIDS research at the NIH's
Office of AIDS Research (OAR). The OAR was created by Congress in 1988 with the
express mission to plan, coordinate and determine the budget for all AIDS
research at the NIH's 24 institutes, centers and divisions. The OAR's budget
authority was eliminated last year and, subsequently, the OAR's ability to
effectively coordinate the NIH's AIDS research was severely curtailed. AIDS
advocates fear that without a strong OAR with a consolidated budget authority
over AIDS research dollars, there is the risk that AIDS research efforts which
have yielded scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of HIV disease will
be in jeopardy.
"What we require from this Congress is its unequivocal support for a
strong OAR with the authority to develop and implement a strategic plan for AIDS
research," said Lubinski. "The OAR's success in developing and
implementing a strategic plan, however, requires that the OAR have complete
authority to direct all the NIH's AIDS resources to develop effective therapies
and work ultimately towards a cure. That is not possible under the GOP
leadership's research agenda."
Founded in 1984, AIDS Action Council is the only national organization
devoted solely to advocating on federal AIDS policy, legislation and funding.
AIDS Action Council represents more than 1,400 community-based AIDS service
organizations throughout the United States.
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, Ext. 3042