NEWSFLASH: House Adopts AHF Stimulus Funding Proposal for HIV Testing and Prevention

The U.S. House of Representatives has adopted the proposal of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to appropriate $300 million for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and services in the pending economic stimulus legislation.

Yesterday, the Democratic leadership of Congress proposed $355 million for domestic HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD and prevention programs as part of a $3 billion Prevention and Wellness Fund to prevent diseases and to reduce future healthcare costs. The funding proposal is included in the House of Representatives’ American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. The legislation is a cornerstone of the economic recovery efforts being championed by President-elect Obama who is working closely with Congress to implement an effective and durable program for economic recovery nationwide.

Earlier in the week, a coalition of AHF nurses, AIDS patients, and medical providers from Florida made their way to Washington to lobby Congress on Capitol Hill to include funding for HIV testing in the economic stimulus package. The specifics are as follows:

The visiting Florida delegation lobbied for funding for an expansion of the current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) HIV testing program to do over three million HIV tests in the next two years in order to find the 60,000 plus people currently infected with HIV but who don’t know it. AHF estimates that doing so will prevent at least 6,000 new infections, ultimately saving the government billions of dollars in medical costs.

This is a HUGE success in the fight against containing this infection, educating the public, and finding methods of prevention. As our previous post mentioned, the number of new STD cases has reached record levels. The CDC has also revised its estimate of new HIV infections in the U.S. to 56,000 per year, up from the previously reported 40,000 per year. It is important that we keep national and global focus on HIV/AIDS and other STDs and the need for increased education, testing, and assistance. It is a further step forward to have Congress sign off on new funding which can help meet those needs.

Source: AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)