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Congresswoman Waters Introduces the Stop AIDS in Prison Act

March 11, 2009

Washington, DC -- Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) re-introduced the Stop AIDS in Prison Act (H.R. 1429) today. She announced the introduction of this bill at the Congressional Summit on the Effects of HIV and Incarceration on Communities of Color, an event on Capitol Hill organized by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC).

"The Stop AIDS in Prison Act will help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among prison inmates, encourage them to take personal responsibility for their health, and reduce the risk that they will transmit HIV/AIDS to other people in the community following their release from prison," said Congresswoman Waters.

Original cosponsors of the Stop AIDS in Prison Act include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-VA), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over federal prisons.

"I am honored to have the support of Judiciary Committee leaders for the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, and I look forward to working with the House leadership to pass it," said the Congresswoman.

The Stop AIDS in Prison Act was passed by the House of Representatives during the 110th Congress by voice vote. However, the Senate did not complete action on the bill prior to adjournment.

"AIDS is spreading in our nation's jails and prisons. In 2005, the Department of Justice reported that the rate of confirmed AIDS cases in prisons was three times higher than in the general population. We need to take the threat of HIV/AIDS seriously and confront it in every institution of our society. That includes our nation's prison system," said Congresswoman Waters.

The Stop AIDS in Prison Act requires the Bureau of Prisons to test all Federal prison inmates for HIV upon entering prison and again prior to release from prison, unless the inmate opts out of taking the test. The bill also requires HIV/AIDS prevention education for all inmates and comprehensive treatment for those inmates who test positive.

Congresswoman Waters has been a leader of congressional efforts to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic. During the last Congress, she sponsored five initiatives to promote HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment.

  1. 1. She introduced H.R.1943, the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, which passed the House.
  2. 2. She introduced H.R. 822, the Routine HIV/AIDS Screening Coverage Act. This bill would require health insurance plans to cover routine HIV tests under the same terms and conditions as other routine health screenings and therefore encourage and enable more Americans to be tested for HIV/AIDS. A total of 44 Members of Congress cosponsored this bill.
  3. 3. She continued her efforts to expand the Minority AIDS Initiative, which she established in 1998 to expand HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment among minorities, which have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. She sent a letter to House appropriators requesting $610 million for the Initiative in fiscal year 2009, and 79 Members of Congress signed her letter.
  4. 4. She introduced H.Con.Res. 426, a resolution to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the Minority AIDS Initiative. This resolution passed both the House and the Senate.
  5. 5. She introduced H.Res. 1359, a resolution to honor the first annual National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day. A total of 29 Members of Congress cosponsored this resolution.

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This article was provided by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
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