05.14.08

Burr Supports Continued Funding for Global Treatment of AIDS

Calls for majority of funding in bill to go towards treatment

Today, at a press conference in Washington, U.S. Senator Richard Burr expressed his support for preserving funding for AIDS treatment in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Senator Burr, along with Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. of Oklahoma and Jon Kyl of Arizona, introduced S.2749, the Save Lives First Act, which renews America's commitment to treating patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

"AIDS is one of the gravest medical challenges of our time and we have the ability and responsibility to treat and prevent it," Burr said. "This virus has destroyed far too many lives already and it is time to say enough is enough. We must continue to support legislation that makes treatment a funding priority."

PEPFAR, which provides aid to 114 countries, is the largest international health initiative by any nation dedicated to a single disease. Originally signed into law in 2003 and set to expire at the end of this year, PEPFAR is an extremely successful program to combat AIDS on a global scale. In order to meet its initial goals, Congress authorized the majority of its funding to go towards care and treatment for those afflicted. While many groups have attributed the success of PEPFAR to its dedication to treatment, Congress has removed a requirement in the current reauthorization bill that any money be spent on treatment.

"Over 30 million people worldwide have HIV/AIDS and less than two million people in developing countries currently receive treatment," Burr said. "We need to continue to focus on providing life-saving medical treatment for those who suffer from this illness and we must expand early diagnosis so people who might not know their HIV status can get into treatment."