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Half Billion in Cuts to AIDS Funding Under Sequestration, Advocates Warn
By Jane Norman, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor
September 26, 2012
Advocates for people with HIV and AIDS warned Wednesday that funding for programs to battle the disease could be chopped by $538 million in 2013 if automatic cuts included in last year’s limit deal go into effect on Jan. 2.
In a letter to congressional leaders, officials with the AIDS Institute said the reductions “would have devastating impacts on how our country confronts HIV/«AIDS»in the United States” at a time when 50,000 new infections a year are being reported, a number that number has been stable in recent years.
While Medicaid would not be affected by sequestration and cuts in Medicare would be limited, many programs that fund medical research activities and public health initiatives would see an impact, a report released by the White House on Sept. 14 showed.
The advocates said their calculations found that an 8.2 percent spending cut in discretionary programs in 2013 would mean $64 million for HIV/AIDS prevention would be eliminated from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget. In addition, the cuts would take $196 million from the Ryan White program that helps pay for treatment for people with little or no health insurance, $251 million from AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health and $27 million from a housing program for people with AIDS.
The cut to the Ryan White program would include $77 million in spending reductions for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program in the states, resulting in 9,400 people across the country losing access to the prescription drugs needed to treat HIV, advocates said.
“We understand there are serious budget concerns, but we also know that HIV/AIDS is an infectious disease that must be addressed by public health and our federal government must protect our nation’s most vulnerable, including people living with HIV/AIDS,” advocates said.
Jane Norman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org