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New York Legislators Introduce Bill to Fight HIV/AIDS in U.S. Minorities

August 20, 2013

On August 14, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) introduced the Communities United with Religious Leaders for the Elimination of HIV/AIDS (CURE) Act of 2013 to both chambers of the U.S. Congress. Intended to reduce HIV incidence among U.S. minority populations, the bill would fund the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants for HIV prevention activities, including research, education, outreach, and testing. Grant recipients would include CDC, the Office of Minority Health (OMH), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and community- and faith-based organizations.

Sen. Rangel stated the bill would allow community and religious organizations to partner in finding "on-the-ground" solutions to high HIV incidence in communities of color. The bill would provide funding for health agencies and faith- and community-based organizations to expand HIV prevention education and counseling, especially among runaway and homeless youth. The bill also would supply funding for OMH to collaborate with public and private sector communities to increase awareness of health risks among racial and ethnic minorities. CDC would receive funding for behavioral research and testing to find effective HIV prevention solutions.

African Americans accounted for approximately half of all new U.S. HIV infections; approximately 20 percent of new HIV infections occurred among Hispanics. HIV incidence among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders was twice that of whites, and HIV incidence was 30 percent higher among American Indians/Alaska natives than whites.

CURE Act proponents included a wide range of national organizations, faith-based organizations, and minority advocates, including the National Medical Association, National Conclave on HIV/AIDS Policy for Black Clergy, the Black AIDS Institute, the National Alliance of Hispanic Health, the Asian Pacific Islander American Wellness Center, and the National Caucus of Black State Legislators.

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Excerpted from:
Hudson Valley Press (Newburgh)

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