Bush Would Increase HIV/AIDS Funds in Budget
President Bush is expected to announce today that he will increase HHS' expenditures on AIDS by $688 million, or 7%, with a "particular emphasis on research to develop a vaccine and international efforts to combat [HIV and AIDS] in the world's poorest countries," the Washington Post reports. The HIV/AIDS provisions of Bush's $1.9 trillion fiscal year 2002 budget are expected to include the following:
- A $258 million, or 12%, increase in NIH funding for HIV/AIDS research, bringing the agency's total HIV/AIDS funding to $2.5 billion, which includes $357 million for HIV vaccine research.
- An 11% expansion of the global AIDS program at the CDC. The Post reports that this $12 million increase is "far less than the $200 million expansion of international efforts through HHS and the State Department the Senate called for in the budget resolution it approved Friday."
- A 2% increase in the CDC's domestic AIDS program.
- An 1% increase for the federal minority HIV/AIDS program.
- No increase for the Ryan White CARE Act.
- A 7% increase in women's health programs, including an "extra $10.5 million for the Office on Women's Health within the HHS secretary's office." The proposal also calls for $25 million in women-specific HIV/AIDS programs (Goldstein, Washington Post, 4/8).
In related news, President Bush plans to appoint Scott Evertz today as director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and has announced his intention to "broaden" the scope of the department to focus on the epidemic's global spread, the Washington Post reports. Evertz, a fundraising executive with a Milwaukee faith-based senior citizens' group, is the first openly gay official in the Bush administration and the first gay ONAP director. He is the president of the Wisconsin chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization. Evertz said he would like to "refocus" federal HIV prevention efforts to stem the rate of transmission among African-American men, particularly those in poor communities (Allen, Washington Post, 4/9). He also said that efforts overseas must not be reduced to a "passive policy of simply handing over" anti-AIDS drugs to HIV-positive individuals. "We need to offer the best and brightest from this country as we pass off what we've learned when it comes to assisting folks in adhering to these regimens," he said. Gay-rights organizations were pleased with Bush's choice of Evertz. Richard Tafel, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said, "This appointment is a very good sign on all levels. AIDS is a very powerful issue in the gay community, and to have an openly gay official chosen on his merit means we shouldn't have to be afraid and closeted for who we are" (Becker, New York Times, 4/9). Evertz will begin work later this month (Washington Post, 4/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.