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President's FY09 Budget - A Disaster for Domestic AIDS: Congress Must Fund Critical Healthcare Priorities
Date:2/4/2008

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Congress must reject President Bush's Fiscal Year 2009 budget in order to address the critical health needs of the over 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States," commented Dr. Gene Copello, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. "Most of the people who rely on these government programs for their healthcare and medicines are very poor and from minority communities. As the richest nation in the world, we can't turn our backs on them. The budget the President has recommended ignores our Nation's healthcare priorities and must be rejected."

"We must also turn to the Congress to increase HIV prevention funding at the CDC. At the same time the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is about to release higher HIV incidence numbers for the U.S., and is embarking on increasing HIV testing and case finding programs, the President is proposing to cut HIV prevention programs," Copello continued.

"It is appalling that the President is recommending a measly $1 million or .004% increase for the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides healthcare and medications for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS," added Copello. "This does not even keep up with inflation, let alone take in account that more people need services due to new infections, new testing initiatives, and people are living longer. We will now have to turn to the Congress to adequately fund HIV/AIDS care and treatment."

Many parts of the Ryan White program have faced cuts in recent years despite the growing demand. For the current year, HIV/AIDS funding for state health departments was cut by $19 million at the same time state budgets are being stretched due to the economic downturn. The President is proposing an increase of only $6 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) which provides lifesaving medications. This does not come close to the anticipated needed increase of $133 million. Despite this mino
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SOURCE The AIDS Institute
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