HRC Says Federal Funding For Crucial HIV/AIDS Programs Takes Some Positive Steps But Falls Short Overall

The Human Rights Campaign expressed disappointment today by the
lack of money appropriated by Congress for fiscal year 2002 HIV/AIDS
programs. With new infections on the rise, the resources provided remain
inadequate to keep pace with the growing need, particularly prevention, care
and treatment, HRC asserts.

"While we are appreciative of the efforts of our allies on the Hill
to work for the increases these critical programs have received, we urge the
president and Congress to recognize that our nation's response to the
domestic and global epidemic must be strong and comprehensive," said Winnie
Stachelberg, HRC's political director. "We hope to work with the
administration on next year's budget recommendations to ensure that the men,
women and children living with HIV and the AIDS are taken care of."

The Ryan White CARE Act received an increase of $103.1 million over
the President's request of $1.8 billion. This additional money brings
funding for the bipartisan-supported CARE Act to $1.9 billion for fiscal
year 2002. Unfortunately, the increase for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program
(ADAP) falls woefully short at $50 million, $40 million of which will be
used to account for the rising costs of medication.

"We are disappointed with the inadequate response because the need
for increased funding for HIV and AIDS has never been greater," said HRC
Senior Policy Advocate Chris topher Labonte. "More and more states are being
forced to further limit and in some cases close their ADAP programs to new
enrollment because of increased need and too little money from the federal

Increased spending on prevention for FY 2002 is $38 million for the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for a total of $691.5
million. This is clearly not enough to implement the CDC's 5 year plan for
prevention, says HRC.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
the number of people living with AIDS in the United States increased 33
percent between 1996 and 1999. Between June 1999 and June 2000, the number
of people living with HIV or AIDS reported to the CDC increased an
additional 10 percent. There are an estimated 312,000 people living with
AIDS in the United States, and the CDC estimates as many as 900,000
Americans are infected with HIV. For African-Americans, AIDS is the leading
cause of death in the 25-44 age group.

"There are still 40,000 new infections each year and the epidemic
continues to disproportionately impact communities of color, particularly
young gay and bisexual men of color," said Labonte. "The CDC must receive
the tools necessary to achieve their goals of significantly reducing new HIV
infections over the next five years."

On a positive note, there was a bipartisan commitment to increase
research money at the National Institutes of Health, which received an
increase of $3 billion over last year.

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