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amfAR Welcomes New Federal Investments to Fight Global and Domestic HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Omnibus spending bill restores PEPFAR funding

NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2014 – amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, welcomed the passage of an omnibus spending bill by U.S. Congress that includes restoration of $300 million in funds to the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to help fight HIV/AIDS abroad.

Bilateral HIV funding through PEPFAR, the largest international program responding to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, has sustained critical funding losses – nearly $600 million – since fiscal year 2010.The provision in the spending bill, which now heads to President Obama's desk for signing, restores half of what had been cut since 2011.

The omnibus spending bill also level funded federal domestic HIV prevention, care, treatment, and research programs for FY2015 at a time when other health programs have been cut.

“The U.S. has carved out a leadership role in the global response to AIDS, thanks in large part through the successes of PEPFAR. The decision to replenish funds for the program demonstrates a bipartisan commitment to the fight against AIDS,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “But the AIDS crisis is far from over, and to change the course of this epidemic, we must increase our investments in domestic and global AIDS programs in subsequent years or risk undermining the significant gains we have already made in the fight.”  

There are still 35 million people worldwide living with HIV, including more than 20 million who are unable to access treatment. The U.S. is the leading provider of international HIV assistance, accounting for almost half (49%) of all international HIV funding in 2012. PEPFAR is currently helping provide lifesaving HIV treatment to 7.7 million people, and has prevented countless infections among infants born to HIV-positive mothers in some of the hardest hit regions of the globe. 

“Thanks to champions on the Hill, including Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Senator Tom Coburn, the restoration of PEPFAR investments will  rapidly scale up access to treatment where it can have the greatest impact,” said amfAR Vice President and Director of Public Policy Greg Millett. “Evidence continues to show that the scale-up of treatment for people living with HIV not only saves lives, but also greatly reduces the chances of an HIV-positive person transmitting the virus to others.”

According to recent amfAR estimates, the restoration of $300 million of PEPFAR funding will add an additional 272,000 people to HIV treatment, keep an additional 17,000 infants from being born with HIV, and avert an additional 62,000 AIDS-related deaths.

 About amfAR

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested close to $400 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide.