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Congress Spares Most AIDS Funding in Budget Fight

Congress Spares Most AIDS Funding in Budget Fight

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After budget talks that almost ended in a federal government shutdown last week, funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program will see a $48 million increase this year under the deal that averted the shutdown.

The increase will help provide treatment for the 8,000 people in 11 states who are on ADAP waiting lists, according to the AIDS Institute, which thanked Congress and President Barack Obama for their work in ensuring HIV/AIDS programs will still function in a statement Monday. Still, the federal government has documented more than 30,000 new people enrolled in ADAP in the course of one year adding to the pressure to keep the program afloat. About one in four people with HIV receive some aid from ADAP.

Proposed cuts to Medicaid, however, would have a major impact on ADAP and the Ryan White program, as they would have to pick up these costs, said AIDS Institute spokesman Carl Schmid. Additionally, under the budget deal, parts of the Ryan White program, which provides health care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, would see no increases in fiscal 2011, and instead be cut 0.2% at a time when patient loads are growing, Schmid said.

The bill also will cut research funding for the National Institutes of Health by $300 million and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $730 million, in areas to be determined.

Congress did, however, reject a ban on funds for federal and Washington, D.C.-based needle and syringe exchange programs.

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