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Treatment Action Group Condemns White House Budget Cuts to Health, Research
From a press release
2017-05-24

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New York, NY, May 24, 2017- The full disclosure of President Trump's FY18 budget yesterday reaffirms the current administration's intention of scaling-back critical progress in programs and research made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB, HCV, and other domestic and global health issues. Treatment Action Group, alongside many partner organizations, calls on all members of Congress to immediately ensure these proposed cuts are dead on arrival.

In presenting the budget earlier yesterday morning, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the White House Office of Management of Budget ( OMB ), contended that cuts and reductions made across agencies such as the National Institutes of Health ( NIH ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ), the National Science Foundation ( NSF ), and others were not to be deemed as "anti-science." Yet the net effect of the full budget proposal on promising scientific research and programs undertaken and supported by these agencies tells a much different story.

"Another way of continuing to blatantly undercut the value of science is to defund science and programs that implement the fruits of our investments," says Mark Harrington, Executive Director of TAG. "While the Trump administration continues to value massive tax cuts on the rich, the true costs will be the loss of health, lives, jobs, scientific breakthroughs and, the future of the human race."

In addition to virtually destroying Medicaid and throwing millions out of health care through the American Health Care Act ( AHCA ), some of the deadliest and most dangerous of the President's proposed budget cuts include:

Research and HIV:

A 20% ( $8 billion annual ) reduction to research at NIH;

The entire elimination of the Fogarty International Center, critical in training scientists in HIV and TB research from around the world to combat global health threats;

A 20% funding cut to CDC-funded HIV prevention programs;

$59 million in cuts to the Ryan White Program made through the elimination of Part F and Special Projects of National Significance ( SPNS ).

Elimination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative ( MAI )

Trimming $700 million from PEPFAR and $225 from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, The New York Times estimates these cuts will cost a million lives;

Eliminating funding for global health commitments to International AIDS Vaccine Initiative ( IAVI ) and advancing micro/bicides research.

Tuberculosis:

Reducing the CDC's Division of TB Elimination ( DTBE ) budget by $12 million after years of success in contributing to declining TB rates domestically and promising research being done by the TB Trials Consortium ( TBTC ).

A $62.2 million slash to global TB programs at USAID, during a time where TB is currently the number one global infectious killer;

Eroding the budget of the Global TB Drug Facility ( GDF ), a critical lifeline to treatment access worldwide.

Viral Hepatitis:

Stagnation of CDC hepatitis prevention efforts at $34 million, despite the recent tripling of new hepatitis C virus ( HCV ) cases linked with the explosively out-of-control opioid epidemic;

Continuing to limit the use of federal funding to purchase syringes, which prevent transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis and are a vital approach to ending these epidemics.

"Trump's budget agenda continues to target research and programs that have proven to save lives, while bringing in substantial savings through prevention and expanding access to treatment," said Tim Horn, Deputy Executive Director of HIV and HCV Programs. He added, "We cannot let this budget slide by or negotiate away decades of progress built by activists and researchers in our movement. The time to act is now."

About TAG: Treatment Action Group ( TAG ) is an independent, activist and community-based research and policy think tank fighting for better treatment, prevention, a vaccine, and a cure for HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C virus. TAG works to ensure that all people with HIV, TB, or HCV receive lifesaving treatment, care, and information. We are science-based treatment activists working to expand and accelerate vital research and effective community engagement with research and policy institutions. TAG catalyzes open collective action by all affected communities, scientists, and policy makers to end HIV, TB, and HCV.


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