Press Room

September 15, 2004

Category: HIV & AIDS

HRC: Senate Committee Passes HIV/AIDS Funding Levels That Fall Dangerously Short

'This funding shortchanges the fight against HIV/AIDS,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

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

"This funding shortchanges 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. 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. 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, 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.

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.