AIDS Action Praises AIDS Program Funding Increase; Denounces Flat-Funding for Prevention
June 25, 1998
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"The House went a long way toward improving care, research and housing but they went nowhere toward improving prevention," said Daniel Zingale, AIDS Action's executive director. "If we had a medical vaccine, forces would be mobilized to deploy it. Today we have a virtual vaccine -- prevention -- and those forces are paralyzed."
AIDS Action led the fight with our member organizations and other advocates to win funding increases of $181 million for Ryan White CARE Act funding, $21 million for housing programs, more than $100 million for research and $275 million for substance abuse programs.
"People living with HIV won a solid victory and inched closer to an end of AIDS," said Zingale. "Improved drug access ensures that current treatments are available to more people and improved research ensures that new treatments become available. Improved housing efforts not only take homelessness out of the AIDS equation, but recognize that proper housing is critical to treatment adherence."
The flat-funding in prevention programs comes just as there is new evidence of complacency about safer sex and increases in HIV infection rates. Young people constitute half of all new HIV infections, yet only 10 percent even think they are at risk. Despite an 88 percent drop in HIV infection rates among some high-risk groups during the first decade of the epidemic, the most recent data suggest that HIV infection is once again on the rise. In addition, a recent study from the NIH demonstrated the effectiveness of safer sex progrmas.
AIDS Action's 1998 State of AIDS Forum will focus a new national dynamic for HIV prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as national and local leaders in the fight against AIDS will participate at the Forum, which will take place July 20 at the National Press Club.
"Until there's a cure, the most immediate breakthroughs in fighting HIV will come through treating prevention like the vaccine we so desperately crave," added Zingale. "The increases in substance abuse programs will help get people off addiction and away from HIV.
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.