Budget-Slashing Legislation Detrimental to HIV/AIDS Fight, Says AIDS United

Washington, D.C. February 25, 2011 – H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution (CR) that was passed last week by the House of Representatives to fund the federal government for the balance of the FY 2011, is detrimental to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the United States, says AIDS United.  The organization strongly opposes H.R. 1, which calls for cutting spending by $61 billion below current spending levels, which are based on FY 2010 spending.

H.R.1 imposes devastating spending cuts on life-saving federal health and poverty programs for our nation’s most vulnerable populations.  It impacts people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States by blocking implementation of health care reform, flat-funding domestic HIV/AIDS programs at 2010 levels, reinstating the ban federal funding for syringe exchange programs, and increasing the funding of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) at the expense of  the country’s  vital public health agencies including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The budget-slashing H.R.1 in its current form simply unacceptable,” said AIDS United President and CEO Mark Ishaug. “This bill is most definitely NOT the way to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.”

HR 1 also completely de-funds of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which would end the AmeriCorps Program and the Social Innovation Fund (SIF).  Since 1994, AIDS United has run the first AmeriCorps program to focus exclusively on HIV/AIDS, which has helped build the staff capacity of communities around the country to offer critical HIV testing and prevention services that have helped tens of thousands of individuals receive HIV prevention information and HIV testing.

AIDS United also recently received a $3.6 million grant from the SIF for its Access to Care initiative, which will also leverage millions of additional private sector dollars in communities around the country to help people living with HIV get the life-saving care they need.

The elimination of AmeriCorps and the SIF would mean that thousands of people will not receive critical HIV testing and prevention services, and that thousands more will not access the quality HIV/AIDS care that they need and deserve.

“The gains we have made in our country’s battle against the HIV/AIDS epidemic are too important to be swept away by H.R.1,” said AIDS United Vice President of Public Policy & Advocacy Ronald Johnson. “AIDS United stands firmly against H.R.1, and urges all individuals and communities to stand with us in opposition.”