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Obama Budget for HIV/AIDS Show Increases; Republicans Plan Cuts

By Kenyon Farrow

February 15, 2011

This article was cross-posted with permission from the blog "kenyonfarrow.com."

I Need My Meds

Today the White House Office on National AIDS Policy hosted a conference call on the Administration's budget request -- what's in it for people living with HIV and/or for the LGBT community. While we've heard in the press that the new budget includes cuts in most social spending domestically, there is actually increased funding in most HIV-related programs. You can read what they're proposing for HIV/AIDS online.

But one point of interest for me is the $940 million for AIDS drug assistance programs (ADAP), an increase of $80 million above 2010 levels to support access to life saving HIV-related medications for approximately 13,000 additional people living with HIV/AIDS.This is particularly important as there are now 6000+ people on waiting lists around the country whom states have dropped from ADAP rolls, in an effort to save $$ from their dwindling coffers.

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"We're getting through a tough couple years until we get to the Affordable Health Care Act, but we've really stepped up our efforts to ensure HIV treatment until the provisions in the act take hold in 2014," said Jeff Crowley, Director of Office of National AIDS Policy.

Health Care Reform would provided more opportunities for people with HIV/AIDS to have health insurance, mostly due to ending pre-exisiting condition bans by private insurers, and by making Medicaid more accessible by raising the income requirements.

None of this will happen of course, if the Republicans have their way with the budget. According to AmFAR, here's the GOP's proposed HIV/AIDS cuts announced late last year:

Domestic:

  • Domestic HIV/AIDS discretionary spending will be cut by 6.5% (from $7.58 billion to $7.09 billion)
  • Prevention: reverting to FY2008 spending levels for HIV prevention at the CDC will reduce funding from $799 million to $732 million—an 8.3% cut
  • Treatment: more than 4,300 people will need to be removed from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) program—adding to the more than 4,000 people already waiting to be enrolled—putting their access to lifesaving treatment in jeopardy
  • Research: the proposed cuts will slash AIDS research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 8%, from $3.18 billion to $2.93 billion, forcing the NIH to make serious reductions in current research efforts while also curbing new ones

Global:

  • Global HIV/AIDS discretionary programs will be cut by 13.1% (from $6.74 billion to $5.86 billion)
  • Treatment: despite the success of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), more than 9 million people in low- and middle-income countries need HIV/AIDS treatment but do not have access to it; a return to FY2008 funding levels will reduce bilateral HIV/AIDS investments by 12.4%, from $5.74 billion to $5.03 billion and could result in a need to remove people who are already receiving treatment
  • Pediatric and orphan services: as of September 2009, 3.6 million vulnerable children were receiving HIV-related care and support; a return to FY2008 funding will require serious cutbacks in services to children

The question is, how much are the Dems willing to fight for HIV/AIDS prevention, research and treatment? How much are we willing to fight to keep these things funded?

Kenyon Farrow is a journalist who resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. Farrow is the co-editor of Letters From Young Activists: Today's Rebels Speak Out (Nation Books 2005), A New Queer Agenda (Queers for Economic Justice 2010) and the upcoming Stand Up! The Politics of Racial Uplift (South End Press). His work has appeared in publications such as theGrio.com, Bilerico.com, AfterElton.com, Utne Reader, Black Commentator, The Indypendent, City Limits, and in the anthology Spirited: Affirming the Soul of Black Lesbian and Gay Identity (Red Bone Press 2006).

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See Also
2012 National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report: Module One (PDF)
After Five Years, ADAP Waiting Lists Have Been Eliminated; Unmet Need and Funding Uncertainties Require Continued Commitment
More Viewpoints on U.S. ADAP Funding

 

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