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$100M AIDS Initiative

US President Barack Obama marked World Aids Day yesterday by unveiling a plan to invest $100 million in new funding over the next three years to support HIV/AIDS research, including funding for basic science and projects focused on treatments and cures.

Speaking at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Obama told a group of government officials and AIDS activists that the investment will seek to "develop a new generation of therapies," because the US "should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies — or better yet, eliminate it completely."

The funding for the program will be redirected from the National Institutes of Health's available resources and from expiring AIDS research projects over the next three years, NIH said yesterday.

NIH Director Francis Collins took the opportunity to paint the initiative as one of the worthwhile investments NIH makes even in a difficult fiscal environment of "[f]lat budgets and cuts from sequestration."

"AIDS research is an example of an area where hard-won progress over many years has resulted in new and exciting possibilities in basic and clinical science in AIDS that must be pursued," Collins said in the statement.

The $100 million will support investigators pursuing the genetic determinants for sex, race, age, and other factors influence the disease, as well as prevention-focused studies of microbicides, vaccines, and other strategies.