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PEPFAR takes a big hit in the 2012 spending bill #HIV #AIDS

PEPFAR takes a big hit in the 2012 spending bill #HIV #AIDS

From Science Speaks:

Congress is set to put its seal of approval on a $1 trillion-plus spending bill to fund the government for the fiscal year (FY) ending September 30, 2012. The bill allocates $8.17 billion to global health programs, an increase of more than $320 million over FY 2011 enacted levels.

Critical global health programs still took a hit. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program sustained approximately $93 million in cuts compared to FY 2011 funding levels. This comes on the heels of an announcement by the Obama administration that AIDS is a U.S. policy priority and committing to putting 6 million people on HIV treatment by the end of 2013. The funding cuts will pose a challenge to these promises. If one were to project the number of individuals that PEPFAR could support on treatment in a given year with the $93 million – using the $335 per year per individual treatment costs through PEPFAR cited by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in her address to the National Institutes of Health in November – approximately 277,612 would be covered.

The bill also commits $1.05 billion to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – the same amount committed last year. While a healthy contribution, it still puts the U.S. behind on reaching its three-year pledge to contribute $4 billion to the Fund by 2013.

To the chagrin of HIV/AIDS prevention advocates, the bill also gives the directive that no funds for domestic or global HIV/AIDS may be directed toward needle exchange programs, a critical means of protecting injection drug users (IDU) from HIV-infection.  Of the approximately 16 million IDU in the world, 3 million are infected with HIV and one in three new HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa is attributable to injection drug use.

The National Institutes of Health will experience a bump of $299 million in the bill over FY 2011 levels. Global tuberculosis (TB) efforts are flat-funded at $236 million for FY 2012.

The HIV Medicine Association issued a response to the bill today, addressing the elements of proposed domestic and global HIV/AIDS funding which could jeopardize the administration’s goal of an “AIDS-free generation.”


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