WASHINGTON - President Bush's budget proposal, released yesterday, presents a mixed bag on HIV/AIDS, with modest funding increases in care and treatment programs, additional cuts in Medicaid and a dangerous increase in abstinence-only programs that keep thorough, scientific information out of the hands of those who need it most.
"For the sake of hundreds of thousands of Americans living with HIV and AIDS, we can and we must do more," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We welcome the president's attention to the critical needs facing HIV/AIDS programs, yet the new funding does not make up for the years of shortcomings and huge proposed cuts that may harm beneficiaries in other areas."
The largest proposed HIV/AIDS increase is for the president's $188 million domestic AIDS initiative, with money split between the Ryan White CARE Act and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We need a comprehensive and targeted strategy to combat this virus - particularly in at-risk communities and among people of color," said Solmonese. "Attention to this continually growing trend is long overdue."
There are more African Americans among new AIDS cases, people estimated to be living with AIDS and HIV-related deaths than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.
Among the president's proposals:
"As the process moves forward we urge Congress to strengthen Medicaid instead of weaken it, and put sound science over ideology in educational programs," added Solmonese.
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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