HRC Blog

House Subcommittee Proposes New Funds for Critical HIV/AIDS Programs

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education passed an appropriations measure for Fiscal Year 2011 that provides for important increases in a number of critical federal HIV/AIDS programs. While the current economic times make funding increases of any kind hard to come by, it is especially in such a fiscal crisis that programs like the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) are most needed. Thankfully, the Subcommittee has recognized that need, including an $84 million increase for Ryan White care and treatment programs, with $50 million going to provide HIV medications to those most in need through ADAP. Unfortunately, with a record number of individuals on ADAP waiting lists, and more and more states moving to close their programs to additional recipients, the estimated need for FY11 is far greater – $370 million. Even with $25 million in newly-announced emergency dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services, and deeper drug discounts and donations from pharmaceutical companies, ADAP remains in crisis. We urge Congress to provide additional funds for this essential effort to keep people with HIV and AIDS in treatment. The Subcommittee also adopted a welcome $29 million increase for prevention efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Again, however, these funds are far short of what is needed to reduce the number of new infections every year. Earlier this week, President Obama announced his National HIV/AIDS Strategy and among its bold goals was a 25% reduction in new infections by 2015. As we noted in our statement in response to the release of the Strategy, its important purpose cannot be achieved without the commitment of resources. The increase in prevention dollars proposed by the Subcommittee is a good start, but it will take millions more to turn the tide against new infections. Congress must do more. In addition to these increases for treatment and prevention, the Subcommittee also included an additional $1 billion for research efforts at the National Institutes of Health. As the House moves forward in the appropriations process, we will continue to remind Members that, even in difficult economic times, we as nation cannot let down our guard in the fighting the epidemic or lessen our commitment to caring for those living with HIV and AIDS.

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