June 19, 1996
Statement by Fred Miller Interim Executive Director, AIDS Action Council Wednesday, June 19, 1996
In little less than two months, two scientific breakthrough discoveries in the battle to end the AIDS epidemic have occurred which underscore the critical need for, and intrinsic value of, aggressive federal AIDS research efforts and the adequate funding to make that research possible. Five months after identifying the elusive HIV protein, researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have discovered the molecular cofactor which enables HIV to fuse with the membranes of immune system cells. Much like the discovery of the HIV protein, the latest NIAID discovery instills us all with continued hope that inroads are being made in the battle to end this insidious disease.
Much more than instilling hope, however, this discovery reaffirms the importance of aggressive AIDS research efforts. Appropriating adequate levels of funding for AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ñ funding that must be administered through the NIH's Office of AIDS Research (OAR) Ñ is crucial if we are to halt the spread of this epidemic. Let this discovery serve as yet another wake-up call to conservatives in Congress who repeatedly express misinformed concerns about AIDS funding research levels: after almost two decades of suffering from this disease's ravaging effects and the loss of over 300,000 lives, this breakthrough represents a substantial advance in how researchers trace the pathogenesis of HIV infection and will help to create new treatments and therapies. Adequate funding for vital AIDS research, prevention and care programs and the federal government's unwavering commitment to these programs are crucial if we are to advance beyond this breakthrough and see an end to the AIDS epidemic.
For more information, contact
AIDS Action Council
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Washington DC 20009
202- 986-1300, Ext. 3042
Pager (800) 734-9583