Open Letter to Congress: Oppose Cuts the HIV/AIDS Research Funding!

Dear Members of the United States Congress:

As Congress works on the FY2016 Labor, HHS, and Education appropriations measure, the XX undersigned organizations thank you for your continued bi-partisan commitment to addressing the serious public health threat of HIV/AIDS in the United States and across the globe.

We strongly support the robust funding of research into diseases endemic to the United States, but it would be unwise and misguided to allocate research dollars simply on the basis of disease burden in the US. Research investment also must follow scientific opportunity to have the greatest impact and the need to halt the spread of deadly infectious diseases must be a priority. Investment in research into infectious diseases is critical to the public health and security of our nation and well beyond our borders. The recent Ebola outbreak has underscored the potential for an infectious disease outbreak anywhere in the globe to present a threat to the United States. The failure to act has severe consequences. Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic would benefit not only Americans, but also tens of millions of people across the globe. It would also serve and strengthen the larger global humanitarian and development interests of all Americans.

We strongly support increased overall funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to boost investments in therapies and cures for all of the many diseases that afflict Americans such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS. The race to find better treatments and a cure for cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease and other diseases, and for controlling global epidemics like HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis and malaria, all depend on a long term investment strategy for health research at NIH.

However, this is a time to prioritize, not diminish HIV/AIDS research. NIH-funded HIV/AIDS research has supported innovative basic science for better drug therapies, behavioral and biomedical prevention interventions that have saved and improved the lives of millions. These advances hold great promise for significantly reducing HIV infection rates and providing more effective treatments for those living with HIV/AIDS in the coming decade. Despite these gains, we cannot lose sight of the sobering reality that there remain over one million people living with HIV in the U.S., and almost 50,000 Americans become newly infected every year. Globally there are more than 35.3 million people living with HIV, the great majority of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research advances to develop a preventive vaccine and a cure for HIV infection hold the potential to end the most devastating epidemic in human history.

Federal support for HIV/AIDS research has also led to new treatments and new approaches to other diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, hepatitis, osteoporosis and a wide range of autoimmune disorders. The NIH has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of its HIV research portfolio, which will ensure that funds are allocated to areas of the highest HIV/AIDS research priorities in the years to come.

Thank you for considering these views, and please oppose any effort to reduce HIV/AIDS funding in the FY2016 appropriations process and beyond – at least until such time as we achieve a scalable vaccine and cure.



The Honorable Thad Cochran
The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
The Honorable Roy Blunt
The Honorable Patty Murray
The Honorable Tom Cole
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
The Honorable Hal Rogers
The Honorable Nita Lowey

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