HRC: Senate Committee Passes Hiv/Aids Funding Levels That Fall Dangerously Short

The Human Rights Campaign expressed deep disappointment at
the decision by a Senate Committee to flat fund the Ryan White
Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act and other critical
federal HIV/AIDS programs.

"This funding short changes the fight against HIV/AIDS," said HRC
President Cheryl Jacques. "Prevention is our only vaccine and we need to
get it out to those most at risk: young people, gay and bisexual men and
people of color communities."

In approving the flat-funding levels, the Senate Appropriations
Committee provided no increase for most of the programs in the CARE Act
– with the exception of one program, the Aids Drug Assistance Program
(ADAP). However, ADAP, which provides HIV-related prescription drugs to
those without access to basic HIV treatment, was increased by only $35
million – falling far short of the $217 million needed to support this
critical program. The committee also approved only flat funding for the
prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). Despite the insufficient funding levels for these critical
programs, the appropriations committee disappointingly increased funding
for abstinence-until-marriage programs by $36.5 million overall.

"The Senate put politics ahead of science," added Jacques.

The only substantial increase was $1.1 billion for medical research at
the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which will assuredly benefit
HIV/AIDS research.

The Ryan White CARE Act is the largest single source of public funds
(excluding Medicaid) that treats people with HIV/AIDS in the United
States. First enacted in 1990, the Act supports a wide range of
community-based services, including primary and home health care, case
management, substance abuse treatment and mental health services, and
nutritional and housing services.

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