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Congressional Coalition Calls for a State of Emergency on AIDS
Asks the Administration to Fund AIDS Programs for Minority Communities

June 13, 2001

Washington, DC -- AIDS Action applauded the efforts of Representatives Donna Christian-Christensen (D-VI), Ciro Rodrigez (D-TX) and Robert Underwood (D-GU), for leading a coalition of congressional members to heighten and bring light to the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS in minority communities. Congresswoman Maxine Waters called for a "state of emergency."

According to a study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, racial minorities now represent the highest number of new AIDS cases and the largest groups of people living with AIDS in the US. Although African-Americans are only 12% of the population and Hispanics are only 13%, they account for 47% and 19% of all new AIDS cases, respectively.

The Coalition, consisting of members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Asian-Pacific Caucus (APC), and others, emphasized the need for full funding of the CBC's Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI), spearheaded by Cong. Waters in 1998.

MAI was created to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on racial and ethnic minority groups through programs and research funding specifically designated to serve their populations. Although community-based organizations made it clear that funding levels failed to meet their needs, and the CBC requested $540 million in the FY 2002 budget, the Administration included only $350 million in MAI dollars.

In addition, concerns were raised regarding the use of $100 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to meet the US pledge of $200 million towards a global HIV/AIDS fund.

"While contributing to the global fund is commendable, it can't come at the expense of other domestic, life-saving programs. We must honor our international commitment to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but we cannot rob Peter to save Paul, when deciding where our US dollars will go," said Executive Director, Claudia French.

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