Press Room

December 14, 2005

Category: HIV & AIDS

HIV/AIDS Programs Undermined by Congress

'Short-changing HIV and AIDS programs puts American lives at risk,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - Congress put the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk today in passing the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations conference report that cuts HIV/AIDS prevention programs, flat-funds most of the Ryan White CARE Act and actually increases funding for failed "abstinence-only" programs. The bill heads to the Senate for approval.

"Short-changing HIV and AIDS programs puts American lives at risk," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "The health of thousands of men, women and children are threatened when our nation's leaders ignore the needs of Americans being ravaged by HIV/AIDS in neighborhoods across this country."

By a 215-213 vote, the House of Representatives passed the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations conference report, which contains grossly inadequate funding for federal HIV/AIDS programs. The bill mostly flat-funds an already stretched Ryan White CARE Act at $2.1 billion as well as cutting funding for Centers for Disease Control HIV-prevention programs. Moreover, the bill provides an increase of $11 million in funding for abstinence-only education programs that fail to protect youth from contracting HIV and even teach misleading and false information.

Further abandoning a scientifically based prevention strategy, a Senate amendment to the Labor-HHS-Appropriations bill was stripped in conference committee that would have directed that all federally funded sex-education programs teach medically accurate information.

Solmonese added, "Congress should stop putting ideology over sound science."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country.It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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