amfAR Disappointed That Syringe-Exchange Ban Not Removed from President’s Proposed Budget
Will Work With Administration and Congress to Eliminate the Ban, Increase HIV/AIDS Funding Levels, and Create an Effective National AIDS Strategy
Contact: Cub Barrett, Manager, Program Communications, (212) 806-1602, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, May 7, 2009—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Thursday expressed disappointment that the ban on the use of federal funds for syringe exchange proven to reduce HIV transmission was not removed from the proposed FY2010 budget, but pledged to work with the administration and Congress to remove the ban through the appropriations process.
“We are very disappointed that the syringe exchange ban was not removed, particularly since this administration has pledged to base policy on evidence of what works, and President Obama has signaled his support for removal of the ban in the past,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “We are pleased, however, that President Obama wants to pursue removal of the ban as part of implementation of a National AIDS Strategy.”
“A National AIDS Strategy cannot be successful unless we use all the evidence-based tools at our disposal to reduce HIV incidence,” Frost added. “We look forward to working with other advocates, the Administration, and Congress to eliminate the syringe exchange ban and to implement an effective National AIDS Strategy without delay.”
Frost also said that he welcomed expanded investments in other evidence-based HIV prevention that are part of the President’s budget proposal.
Those expanded investments include a small increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, though NIH also received a significant one-time funding increase through the federal stimulus package.
“We need to be making major new investments in health research, including AIDS research,” Frost said. “amfAR will work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that base funding for AIDS and all NIH research is increased significantly in FY2010 .”
Additionally, Frost called for expanded funding for effective domestic and international HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programming, including for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ryan White CARE program.
“HIV prevention at CDC has been flat-funded for many years,” Frost said, “Last year we learned the domestic HIV infection rate is 40% higher than previously estimated, so we welcome the increase in prevention resources in this budget and urge Congress to expand funding for HIV prevention even more significantly in FY2010.”
On the international front, the proposed budget includes a slight increase in spending for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“We applaud the Administration’s commitment to addressing a more comprehensive range of global health priorities, but we are concerned that the President’s request does not include full funding for PEPFAR, which has had a solid track record of success,” Frost said. “A more inclusive focus on global health must not come at the expense of our efforts to combat AIDS, the leading infectious disease killer globally.”
amfAR last week expressed strong support for Obama’s nomination of Eric Goosby, M.D., who will oversee PEPFAR as the new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $290 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.