U.S. Will Miss Global HIV/AIDS Treatment Goals if Congress Does Not Provide Requested Funding for PEPFAR, Official Says
The U.S. will not be able to meet its goals for treating and preventing HIV worldwide if Congress fails to meet the administration's fiscal year 2007 funding request for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Mark Dybul, deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, told the House Foreign Operations Appropriations panel on Thursday, CQ HealthBeat reports (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 3/10). PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria primarily to 15 focus countries and provides funding to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/13). The program aims to prevent seven million new infections worldwide, provide antiretroviral drugs to two million HIV-positive people and provide care to 10 million people in the 15 countries most affected by the pandemic. The Bush administration in its FY 2007 budget proposal requested approximately $4 billion to fund PEPFAR, including bilateral assistance to 15 "focus" countries and funding for the Global Fund. Dybul said FY 2007 "is the critical year to build capacity" to increase the number of HIV-positive people taking antiretroviral drugs. Dybul added that if Congress does not meet the administration's funding proposal, "no increase in funding the following year" will be able to fix the shortages. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), chair of the subcommittee, did not commit to whether Congress would approve the requested PEPFAR funding, adding, "Budget resources across government are scarce and difficult decisions will need to be made." Kolbe added that the Global Fund is a critical element in the long-term success of PEPFAR (CQ HealthBeat, 3/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.