Skip to main content

Trump Administration Proposes Big Cuts To AIDS Programs

The Trump administration is proposing large cuts to HIV and AIDS programs.

A White House document sent to congressional appropriators shows the administration has proposed cutting $1.23 billion in research from the National Institutes of Health for the 2017 fiscal year, Bloomberg Politics reports.

Under the administration's proposal, PEPFAR, a global program to help HIV and AIDS patients, primarily in Africa, would be cut by almost $300 million.

The cuts would come in the form of delaying treatment to new patients, and by cutting support to what it calls "low-performing countries."

Additionally, state programs with "less effective HIV research and prevention activities" would be cut by $50 million.

Trump has previously proposed reducing the NIH's biomedical research budget by $5.8 billion in 2018.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget described the cuts as "a major reorganization of NIH’s institutes and centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities."

The Trump administration's other proposed cuts include $40 million from the Food and Drug Administration; $50 million from NASA; $350 million from the National Science Foundation; and $372 million from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which assists poor Americans in heating their homes.

The cuts in the budgets of these departments and agencies would mostly go to fund a larger military budget.

Ultimately, Congress will decide the budget for 2017.

Congress never approved the final budget for 2017 under former President Barack Obama, so the U.S. government has had to operate on short-term funding that ends on April 28.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was asked if the Trump cuts would be passed, and said, "No. No."

Right to Care, an organization that provides HIV treatment and prevention in South Africa, receives $24 million in aid.

Right To Care CEO Ian Sanne told Voice of America that South Africa has the largest HIV treatment and prevention program in the world, but also the highest prevalence of AIDS.

Sanne said his organization needs the $24 million, but added that he is more concerned about Trump's proposed cuts to the NIH:

It’s not clear which disease areas the funding will be cut to, but certainly in HIV-tuberculosis, the current agenda of research would be significantly impeded by such a substantive reduction in funding.

The TB drug development arena is almost entirely dependent on the funding from the NIH, and an interruption in funding would lead to a potential expanse of the TB epidemic -- and particularly drug-resistant TB epidemic -- worldwide.

Sources: Bloomberg Politics, Voice of America via / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Popular Video