Bush Budget Increases AIDS Funding

Sends Message to Congress: Do Not Cut Ryan White

February 5, 2002 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – President Bush's 2003 budget plan calls on Congress to increase federal HIV/AIDS funding by nearly $1 billion over the current year and protects vital HIV/AIDS care programs in the Ryan White CARE Act from cuts, despite a war and a recession.

"Our nation faces challenges today we could not have imagined before, with our nation under attack and a recession biting down on jobs in our communities, the President told Congress that we also must win the war on HIV/AIDS," Tafel said.

Amidst widespread cuts in dozens of programs – such as a $9 billion cut in transportation programs, a 15% reduction in Army Corps of Engineers projects, cuts of almost $1 billion in Labor Department training programs, a $300 million cut in Environmental Protection Agency programs identified as pork-barrel projects inserted by Congress last year – the budget held the line on HIV/AIDS care, prevention and treatment and increased research and global programs.

"The fact that HIV/AIDS funding is at an all-time high in this budget while other agencies are being cut is a testament to the effective leadership of White House National AIDS Policy Director Scott Evertz and his team," Tafel said.

"With the unusual circumstances of job losses and attacks on our country, President Bush has protected AIDS programs and sent a message to Congress that the fight against AIDS at home and abroad must go on," Tafel said. "As Congress begins its appropriations work, we look forward to working with the Bush Administration and our coalition partners in reminding them that AIDS funding, particularly research and treatment access, is a fundamental priority."

Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time national office in Washington, D.C., and a federal political action committee.

Some of the highlights of the Department of Health and Human Services allocations for 2003, among the total of $12.9 billion to fund its HIV/AIDS programs [Overall Federal AIDS budget increased by $905 million]:

RESEARCH: HHS' budget allocates $2.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research on HIV and AIDS – a $255 million, or 10 percent increase, above the current year's funding level. The NIH budget includes $422 million for AIDS vaccine research – a 24 percent increase over the previous year and nearly triple the fiscal year 1998 funding level.

PREVENTION: HHS' budget includes $939 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stop the disease's spread – about the same as provided for in the fiscal year 2002 budget. Of those resources, CDC would devote $795 million to support HIV prevention programs in the United States, including efforts to reducing the number of people at high risk for acquiring or transmitting the virus; increasing HIV testing efforts; linking infected individuals with appropriate care and treatment; and strengthening the nation's ability to monitor the epidemic and respond effectively. In addition, CDC would dedicate $144 million to promote prevention strategies and programs across the globe, including expanded efforts in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

TREATMENT: HHS' budget would allocate $1.9 billion – the same as the current year – to fund Ryan White treatment programs, which would continue to provide care and services to an estimated 500,000 Americans. About $639 million of this funding would be available for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides medications to about 85,000 people. Ryan White spending has grown rapidly in recent years, up about 66 percent since fiscal year 1998.

FIGHTING HIV/AIDS AMONG PEOPLE OF COLOR: HHS' budget would allocate $410 million for efforts targeted specifically at reducing the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on racial and ethnic minorities. This includes $105 million to expand treatment and services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and $50 million for the Minorities Community Fund support infrastructure development, technical assistance, prevention and treatment strategies and education in affected communities, as well as $124 million under the Ryan White program, $116 million for community-based prevention activities at the CDC, and other resources at the NIH and other HHS offices and agencies.

FIGHTING AIDS WORLDWIDE: HHS' portion of the President's budget includes $100 million for the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis – bringing HHS' two-year contribution up to $200 million. The U.S. Agency for International Development also would contribute $100 million in fiscal year 2003. With these new contributions, the United States will have met its commitment of $500 million for this effort. This is an unprecedented funding level for global AIDS, which was not a priority in the previous administration.