I’m taking a brief break from story-spinning
to pass this along. The Ryan White CARE
Act is one of the main mechanisms for federal HIV/AIDS funding, providing
primary medical care, assistance with the cost of medication, housing and other
support services. Next week the Senate
will decide how much money to put into domestic AIDS programs for 2007. Right now it looks like funding for most
services will remain flat.
Here’s the problem: there are 40,000 new HIV
infections in the U.S.
each year. Because currently available
anti-retroviral medications are so effective at suppressing the virus and prolonging life, the death rate from AIDS
is much lower than the infection rate.
So the number of people living with HIV/AIDS increases every year. If funding does not increase proportionately,
it has to be spread thinner, meaning more people will go without the care they
The U.S. government has made an
enormous commitment of funds to fight AIDS world-wide. Commendable as that is, it should not come at
the expense of our own citizens who struggle with the disease.
How you can help:
Tell Your Senators To Support Adequate
Funding For HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment
July 12, 2006
Next week, the
U.S. Senate will begin its process of deciding how much money the Ryan White
CARE Act will get in the next fiscal year. The CARE Act funds care, treatment,
and support services for hundreds of thousands of people with HIV/AIDS across
the country. The Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will vote on
funding levels on Tuesday, July 18th, and the full Appropriations Committee
will vote on Thursday, July 20th.
This gives us a chance to improve the levels passed by the House
Appropriations Committee last month. The committee did approve a badly needed
$70 million increase for Title II base that was requested by President Bush.
This would go to states to pay for care and treatment services.
However, the rest of the CARE Act, including the AIDS Drug Assistance
Program (ADAP), is scheduled to get only flat funding under the House proposal.
This would be the first time in years that ADAP would not get any extra money.
Meanwhile it needs a $197 million increase just for states to be able to
provide a basic level of service.
With 40,000 new HIV infections per year, rising health care costs, cuts in other
health care programs, and years of inadequate funding for the CARE Act, people
will have an even harder time getting the care they need. ADAP waiting lists
and other barriers to treatment access around the country will increase.
Our Senators need to hear our voices loud and clear. We have suffered long
enough without enough care and treatment for all who need it!
How you can help:
Before July 18th, call or email your two U.S. Senators. Calling is always
better because you can talk to someone in the office. If you call, ask to speak
to the staffperson who handles HIV and health care issues. You might get their
voicemail or you might be able to talk to them. Either way, tell them:
“My name is ______________ and I live in (your state). I urge Senator
____________ to support badly needed increased funding for the Ryan White CARE
Act, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which pays for care and
treatment services for people with HIV/AIDS. The CARE Act has been underfunded
for the past several years and there are long waits for health care and to get
lifesaving drugs. I would like the Senator to tell members of the
Appropriations Committee that he/she supports adequate funding for the Ryan
White CARE Act.”
You can call your Senators at 202-224-3121. You will get the Capitol
switchboard. Ask to be connected to your Senator’s office. You can find your
Senators’ websites, which include information about how to email them, through
http://www.senate.gov. Thank you for taking the time to make a difference!