Statement from HIV Medicine Association Chair Michael Horberg, MD, MAS, FIDSA:
The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget proposal released today offers a balanced and strategic road map for reducing the federal deficit and keeping the U.S. on track to make significant headway against the HIV epidemic. While we are encouraged by the President’s domestic proposals, we are concerned by the diminished support for our flagship global AIDS program – the President’s Emergency Response to AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), because to end AIDS anywhere we need to address it everywhere.
By proposing much-needed increases for Ryan White’s Part C Program and for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in addition to HIV prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the President recognizes a sustained domestic response is not only lifesaving but also a wise investment. The Ryan White Part C Program in tandem with ADAP supports highly effective and comprehensive HIV care for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Part C clinics are at the frontlines of efforts to improve access to the HIV care and treatment that not only keeps people healthy, but also significantly reduces their risk of transmitting HIV infection. These clinics have produced excellent health care outcomes and have reduced other health care costs, including the costs for inpatient and emergency care.
The President’s proposal for an increase in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a step in the right direction. It is the past investment in NIH that now allows us to strive toward a world without AIDS. This vision will not be realized without continued investments in research to improve our prevention and treatment tools and to inform how we employ these tools. A failure to adequately invest in NIH will leave us without the next generation of scientists to carry on the research that ultimately holds the keys to end the pandemic.
HIV is a global pandemic and our commitment to ending AIDS cannot end at the U.S. border. While we are heartened that the President is continuing strong support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, we are disappointed that with diminished funding for PEPFAR, the administration is weakening its commitment to the PEPFAR Blueprint for an AIDS-free Generation it released in December. Continuing the gains that have been made to turn the trajectory of the global HIV epidemic depends on robustly funded partners retaining the resources needed to support each other’s efforts.
We urge Congress to follow the President’s lead by adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction and supporting the President’s funding proposals for the Ryan White Program, HIV prevention at CDC, and medical research at NIH. These investments along with much needed increases in funding for PEPFAR are necessary to support progress toward ending AIDS.
The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) is the professional home for more than 5,000 physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. For more information, visit www.hivma.org.
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