Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Kathleen Sebelius, has expressed concern that the federal sequester, which went into effect on March 1, will result in the impairment of the HHS’s ability to effectively treat and prevent human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (“HIV/AIDS”).
Sebelius joined other department secretaries in writing letters to the Senate Appropriations Committee expressing the consequences their departments would suffer as a result of the federal budget sequester. She warned that decreased funding could result in fewer HIV/AIDS tests provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), as well as fewer life-saving drugs being made available to HIV/AIDS patients.
Without the necessary funds, HHS would have to make cuts at the CDC, resulting in roughly 424,000 fewer HIV tests being conducted by the CDC’s health department grantees. Sebelius also stressed that approximately 7,400 fewer HIV/AIDS patient would have access to the medications they receive through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program as a result of the sequester.
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