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Bush signs spending measure cutting AIDS funds

Bush signs spending measure cutting AIDS funds

President Bush has signed a 2005 budget that cuts money from nearly all federal AIDS programs. The only program to receive a funding increase was the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, but the $38.7 million in additional funds the program will receive in fiscal 2005 is far short of the $217 million increase AIDS experts say ADAP needs for the year. The spending bill includes a 0.8% across-the-board funding cut for all government programs, including AIDS services. Only ADAP was spared the cuts among federal AIDS programs; it received a total allocation of $787 million for fiscal 2005. The Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, received a $13.2 million funding cut, the largest in the program's history. "As the president pursues legislation to implement his top domestic priorities, including the privatization of Social Security, tax cuts, war, and antiterrorism spending, Congress will try to reduce health-related costs as a way to finance these priorities," The AIDS Foundation of Chicago said in a statement. "AIDS advocates will need to work harder than ever to protect programs that deliver vital health care services to people with HIV/AIDS, especially the Ryan White CARE Act and Medicaid. Advocates are also concerned that lawmakers will attempt to narrow CARE Act services through reauthorization legislation debated next year."

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