As U.S. Prepares to Host International AIDS Conference, House Undermines Domestic Response to Epidemic

Labor, HHS Funding Bill Would Strip Hundreds of Millions from Critical HIV/AIDS Programs

Washington, DC – Just days before the United States is set to host the International AIDS Conference for the first time in over 20 years, House Republicans on the Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee voted to advance legislation that would devastate America’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.  The bill includes drastic cuts to prevention and care programs, as well as a number of funding restrictions that would inhibit the use of evidence-based interventions, while promoting programs that have been proven ineffective, such as abstinence-only education.

“The eyes of the entire World are on the United States,” said National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative and Public Affairs Kali Lindsey.  “At a time when the global community is looking to us for leadership, today’s vote is a troubling sign that some in Congress lack the will to do what’s necessary to end this epidemic.  For the first time in over three decades, we have reached a place where we can realistically envision an AIDS-free generation.  But accomplishing that goal will require bold leadership and sustained investment.  Congress must rise to occasion, and show the World that America will continue to lead the way in combatting this devastating disease.”

Among other things, the bill passed by the House Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee today would cut funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) by $105 million, or almost 10 percent of its overall budget.  It would also eliminate all funding for Title X family planning, while stripping $85 million from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.  And while the bill would significantly increase funding for struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, it would accomplish this by cutting $114 million from other critical parts of the Ryan White Program.

The subcommittee also included language that would prevent any federal funding from being used to support syringe services programs or Planned Parenthood, while allocating millions to ineffective abstinence-only education programs.  It would also rescind all funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Car e Act.

“Rather than seizing the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to ending this epidemic in the lead up to the International AIDS Conference, House Republicans chose to undermine the struggle by voting to strip hundreds of millions in funding for critical HIV/AIDS programs and pushing social policies rooted in moral judgments, not science,” added Lindsey.  “We can and must do better.  President Obama and the Senate have all put forward proposals that include substantial investments in the fight to end this epidemic.  NMAC calls on the House to follow suit, and join us as we work to create an AIDS-free generation.”


Contact:  Kyle Murphy, (202) 577-3430