WASHINGTON -- The House, pledging to leave 'no stone unturned' in the search to find a cure for AIDS, voted to boost research funds by nearly $190 million on the day Rock Hudson died of the mysterious disease.
Hudson, the suave film star who entertained audiences for three decades, died in his sleep Wednesday after a yearlong battle with AIDS. He was 59.
The additional money that the House approved Wednesday, $189.7 million, will ensure that 'no stone will be left unturned in research into the causes and treatments and the potential cures of AIDS,' Rep. Silvio Conte, R-Mass., said.
The money was put in the 1986 appropriations bill of $104.9 billion for the Health and Human Services, Labor and Education Departments and related agencies.
The bill was approved 322-107 and sent to the Senate.
The $189.7 million is $70 million more than President Reagan requested and 90 percent more than is being spent this year.
Conte, senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, told the House, 'There are now at least 12,000 confirmed cases of AIDS in this country. The number is doubling every 10 months. Eighty-five percent of those diagnosed with the disease die within three years.
'It is the committee's intention that no avenue be left unexplored for lack of funding, that progress be made as fast as humanly possible,' Conte said.
Conte said the committee also was urging the Health and Human Services Department to appoint a coordinator for the AIDS effort, 'in other words, an AIDS czar.'
'Nine agencies have been engaged in this effort. ... What we need is a well-coordinated, well-planned effort, with one person running the show,' Conte said.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a virus that attacks and weakens the body's immune system, leaving a person vulnerable to cancer and other deadly diseases.
AIDS has been found to strike mostly homosexuals, intravenous drug users, Haitians and hemophiliacs.
The additional money would be divided among several agencies for research, community awareness programs, preventive care and risk reduction programs.
The National Institutes of Health would receive $140.6 million, the Centers for Disease Control would receive $45.6 milion and $3.5 million would go to the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration.
The administration revised its original budget request for AIDS research, but critics said the amount was not enough and many members of Congress have pressed for additional money.
Reagan, during his Sept. 17 news conference, defended his budget recommendations for AIDS research, saying they represent 'a top priority with us.'
During debate on the appropriations bill, the House accepted an amendment by Rep. Robert Dornan, R-Calif., that would allow the surgeon general to use some funds to close bath houses that may be responsible for transmitting AIDS.