AIDS Prevention

Views on the Administration's Proposed Budget for FY 1988 Gao ID: T-HRD-87-22 August 12, 1987

GAO discussed the: (1) adequacy of the administration's proposed fiscal year 1988 funding levels for the Public Health Service's (PHS) Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) prevention activities; and (2) cost of caring for AIDS patients and the possible cost implications of alternative treatments. GAO found that: (1) of the proposed $790 million AIDS budget, $519 million is for biomedical research to find a vaccine and cure, and $247 million is for prevention and education activities; (2) social, political, and financial barriers preclude expansion of drug treatment programs aimed at the intravenous drug users who spread AIDS through the use of contaminated hypodermic needles; (3) private sector organizations should help finance educational efforts, since the budget request does not provide sufficient funding to launch the massive education campaign needed to educate the general public; (4) intensive educational campaigns may increase the demand for testing, which would increase budgetary needs to meet the demand; (5) investing in AIDS prevention now could help contain future medical costs; (6) although the cost of treating AIDS patients varies, a recent estimate predicted that cumulative AIDS medical treatment costs could reach $64 billion in 1991; and (7) outpatient diagnosis and therapy and home- and community-based services could help minimize costs.

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