Ryan White CARE Act Expiration Threatens Millions Living with HIV/AIDS

by HRC Staff

'We must not let this critical safety net unravel,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act - that has provided critical care and treatment to hundreds of thousands of Americans with HIV and AIDS - will expiretoday, pointing to the serious need to reauthorize the program immediately. Funding to provide services to HIV-positive individuals will still continue in the interim but expiration removes the blueprint to future success.

"We must not let this critical safety net unravel," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Basic spending will continue but resources remain inadequate and we will be left without a structure and blueprint for fighting HIV and AIDS with the fortitude needed to meet today's epidemic."

First passed in 1990, the CARE Act has enjoyed wide bipartisan support from Congress and the Administration as a tool to address the gaps left by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and other publicly financed health care systems. It is the largest source of federal funding devoted exclusively to the treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS. Yet sadly, 40,000 people continue to be infected with HIV in the United States every year.

"With the number of new infections continuing unabated, we must also not lose sight of strong prevention strategies," said Solmonese. "The CARE act provides counseling to help people protect themselves and their loved ones."

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 46 percent of black men who have sex with men surveyed in five major cities were already HIV-positive and two thirds of them did not know they were infected.

"Communities of color are being ravaged by this disease and we need a strong roadmap to providing services to those who need it most,"added Solmonese.

"Despite its significant successes, multiple years of virtual flat funding for the CARE Act has severely limited the program's ability to meet the needs," said Solmonese. "The CARE Act must be reauthorized this year and adequately funded to ensure that people living with HIV will have a comprehensive system of services to help them live fuller lives."

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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