Himes, Lee Introduce Cure for AIDS Act

Jul 26, 2012 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Jim Himes (CT-4) and Barbara Lee (CA-9) announced today that they have introduced the Cure for AIDS Act (H.R. 6187), a bill that would fund research and development of a cure for HIV/AIDS. Currently, the majority of federally funded AIDS research is directed toward vaccines and treatment.

“After slow but important progress in the face of a deadly and terrible disease, a cure is finally within reach,” said Himes. “This bill provides the medical research community with the resources it needs to find that cure so that we can finally put an end to this worldwide epidemic.”

The bill establishes a $100 million research program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program managed by the Department of Defense that will fund research targeted directly toward discovering a cure for HIV/AIDS. The Department would work closely with academic researchers and nonprofit organizations to create a consortium of scientists and advocates to review cure proposals.

“Federal investments in research have paid enormous dividends in the health and well-being of people in the U.S. and around the world,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. “More than a quarter-century of federally funded research into the virus that causes AIDS has provided unprecedented hope for an end to the epidemic. An AIDS Free Generation is not yet upon us, but may not be far off and we must keep working to achieve this goal.”

In addition to the human benefit, the economic case for investing in research to find a cure for AIDS is clear. In Fiscal Year 2012, the federal government spent $27.7 billion on HIV/AIDS, mostly on prevention and treatment. The average lifetime cost of HIV treatment is estimated to exceed $360,000 per person. Yet, many experts believe that a $100 million investment into cure research will make significant progress toward ending this epidemic entirely. The Cure for AIDS Act provides $20 million per year for the next five years – a total of $100 million—to fund research targeted directly toward finding a cure.

Roughly 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide in 2010, including 1.2 million Americans.

Himes gave remarks Wednesday at the National AIDS Quilt, which was on display on the National Mall in conjunction with the International AIDS Conference, also in Washington this week. Click here to watch his remarks. Click here for photos of the event.

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