NAPWA Urges Congressional Action on Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization and Funding
September 30, 2005
Washington, DC -- The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) today called on Congress to move forward with legislative action to reauthorize the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act. The CARE Act, which provides lifesaving services to hundreds of thousands of Americans living with HIV/AIDS, expires at midnight tonight.
"The Ryan White CARE Act saves the lives of poor and working people living with HIV/AIDS by providing essential medical and supportive services. It is a program with proven results and high effectiveness," says NAPWA Executive Director Terje (pronounced "Terry") Anderson. "Congress must make sure this program moves forward with the funding and structure needed to provide access to care and treatment across the country."
Ryan White CARE Act programs will not come to an end with tonight's expiration. Instead, they will continue to operate as long as Congress votes to extend funding for the program.
However, states, cities, clinics and community organizations funded by the CARE Act will continue to struggle with growing need and woefully inadequate funding. The federal government itself estimates that there are approximately 200,000 people in the United States who have tested positive for HIV, but who are not receiving life-saving health care and treatment. An additional 300,000 or more are estimated to have HIV/AIDS but are unaware of their status because they have not been tested.
"The President and Congress have criminally under-funded the CARE Act, resulting in waiting lists, service cutbacks and lack of care for thousands of people in need," said Anderson. "Congress must move forward by not simply re-enacting a CARE Act with changes to address a constantly changing epidemic, but also with the funding needed to close the unthinkable gaps in HIV/AIDS care and services we see across the country."
In an effort to educate members of Congress on the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, NAPWA published the Guiding Principles From the National Association of People With AIDS for the 2005 Reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act in June. The principles are a compilation of what people living with AIDS nationwide believe policy makers should consider when measuring the effectiveness of proposed reauthorization provisions. In addition, NAPWA has released a critique of the Bush administration's proposals for reauthorization of the CARE Act. Both documents are available at: www.napwa.org.
The National Association of People with AIDS, founded in 1983, is the oldest national AIDS organization in the U.S. It advocates on behalf of all people living with HIV and AIDS in order to end the HIV pandemic and the human suffering caused by HIV.
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This article was provided by National Association of People With AIDS.