Elton John: ‘Defunding HIV/AIDS Programs Now Will Cost The U.S. Tons More Later’

9,039 low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS… are on waiting lists to receive medication through public AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. These are people with families and jobs — productive citizens. But they lack health insurance. And they don’t make enough to afford lifesaving drugs.

13 states have already reduced the amount of drugs offered – and increased the number of people on waiting lists… many states facing severe budget shortfalls are considering plans to drastically cut eligibility… Federal, state and local governments must understandably tighten their belts. But… these cuts will only lead to higher costs to taxpayers in the long run.

First, patients who lose their assistance and are forced off HIV medications could develop drug-resistant strains of HIV — which may well be more difficult to manage.

Second, denying treatment to low-income, HIV-positive people will most likely result in increased transmission of the disease…

Third, while HIV/AIDS medications are expensive, the emergency room and hospital care required by people who do not receive them is far more costly.

– Sir Elton John and Florida Senator Bill Nelson urging Congress to approve Obama’s $940 million increase in AIDS medication funding over the next year. They added, “This isn’t a partisan issue. As President George W. Bush noted in 2008, it’s a question of our moral interest.” The Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised over $225 million fighting HIV/AIDS since 1992 and Nelson represents one of the states worst hit by the epidemic.