CDC Needs Additional $4.8 Billion to Reduce Annual Number of New Infections, Officials Say
September 17, 2008
CDC officials on Tuesday at a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing said they would need an additional $4.8 billion dollars over the next five years to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections in the U.S., CQ HealthBeat reports (Stanchak, CQ HealthBeat, 9/16).
Gerberding; Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention; and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, told the committee that although the additional amount of money requested is high, it could reduce the HIV transmission rate by 50% over 12 years. In addition, the increased funding could help reduce the number of HIV-positive people who are unaware of their status by 50% and help reduce racial disparities.
Gerberding said that the agency would use the increased funding to expand HIV testing, research new prevention techniques and evaluate prevention programs. Fauci added that increased funding also would allow research into new areas of HIV prevention research, such as preventing coinfection with other sexually transmitted infections, providing antiretroviral drugs to HIV-negative people as a preventive measure, testing microbicides and vaccine development.
Although the $4.8 billion request is a significant amount of money, it would be more expensive not to treat HIV, Fauci said. A "professional judgment budget" (.pdf) released by the panelists noted that each HIV infection costs more than $1 million in treatment and lost productivity and that if CDC can prevent 4,800 new infections over five years, the programs established with increased funding would be "cost saving to society."
Gerberding said the request is "not just about funding, it's about needing new tools," adding, "AIDS is a social disease as well as a viral disease ... if we don't address the underpinning issues, we'll never get to where we need to be" (CQ HealthBeat, 9/16). She said that the U.S. "need[s] to do so much more than we're doing right now" to prevent new HIV infections, adding that public health workers "need to get AIDS back on the radar screen" because HIV/AIDS "is still posing a threat to college students and to young men and women across our nation's fabric."
Panelists also called for additional HIV prevention and education programs that target blacks, Hispanics and men who have sex with men. George Ayala of AIDS Project Los Angeles told committee members that only four of CDC's 49 recommended intervention programs specifically target MSM and only one targets minority MSM. He said, "Serious HIV-related health disparities, often fueled by stigma and discrimination, continue to undermine HIV prevention efforts in communities of color" (Los Angeles Times, 9/17).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.