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With Republicans Charging in, What Will Happen to AIDS Funding?

By Julie Turkewitz

November 9, 2010

With Republicans Charging in, What Will Happen to AIDS Funding?
A Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives could devastate AIDS funding both at home and abroad, says an analysis released yesterday by the research foundation amfAR.

If House Republicans follow through on their plan to return non-security-related government spending to 2008 levels -- something outlined by House Minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) and announced in the Pledge for America -- they would slash overall discretionary HIV/AIDS spending by 9.6 percent.

How would that play out?

At home, cuts would seriously undermine the country's new and much-touted National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which aims to reduce new HIV infections by 25 percent by 2014. If all goes according to the Republican plan, funding for prevention would receive an 8 percent cut, as would money dedicated to AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health.

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Perhaps more disturbingly, an estimated 4,300 people could be kicked from the nation's AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, forcing them to join the more than 4,000 U.S. citizens already waiting to be enrolled to receive lifesaving treatment.

Globally, prospects for AIDS funding don't look much better. A return to 2008 levels would reduce bilateral HIV/AIDS investments from $5.74 billion $5.03 billion -- a 12.4 percent cut. According to the report, this could force countries to remove people from care who are already receiving treatment.

What's an activist to do?

"We all have tell our representatives and the media and everyone who will listen that cutting AIDS funding will unequivocally lead to needless death and new infection," said Chris Collins, amfAR's vice president and director of public policy. "People have to understand the track record of success in AIDS research prevention and treatment and be aware of the opportunity to change the trajectory of the epidemic and home and globally. AIDS investments have paid off and cutbacks would be deadly.

AMFAR Global & Domestic AIDS Funding Report




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