Himes, Lee Introduce Cure for AIDS Act

Dec 2, 2013 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, DC – On the observance of World AIDS Day, Representatives Jim Himes (CT-4) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) announced they have re-introduced the Cure for AIDS Act, a bill they first introduced last Congress 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.

“Over the past five years, we have made dramatic and encouraging progress towards finding a cure for this deadly and terrible disease,” said Himes. “With a cure at last within reach, 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.

“The investments that the United States government has made into treatment and prevention are helping millions of people around the world. Not long ago, an AIDS diagnosis was considered a death sentence, and today, that is no longer true,” said Lee. “But as we work towards an AIDS-free generation, we must invest in research towards a cure. The end of AIDS is within our grasp, and we must ensure that our hard-fought gains lead towards a vaccine and a cure. These efforts are bolstered by President Obama’s announcement of $100 million in funding to launch a new HIV Cure Initiative at the National Institutes of Health, which he announced at today’s White House World AIDS Day Commemoration.”

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 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide in 2013, including 1.1 million Americans.

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