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"People in the United States seem to have grown complacent and forgotten that HIV/AIDS is not just a problem overseas, but one here in our own nation. With as many as 1.1 million people in our country living with HIV/AIDS, our government, through passing a new Ryan White CARE Act, must ensure that lifesaving drugs, medical care, and social services are provided to those in need, wherever they live."

"Continued flat funding for CARE Act programs will do little to help eliminate current waiting lists, and nothing to extend care and treatment to people who aren't even on those lists. Instead, it will only serve to pit city against city and state against state for the limited dollars available. A person's ability to receive treatment should not depend upon where in the country they live."

"The Ryan White CARE Act works -- that is why it must be reauthorized. In the devastation following Hurricane Katrina, one of the only bright notes was that the Ryan White/ADAP system in states across the country went into high gear to assure that poor patients could access their life-saving medications. The CARE Act and the systems it has created serve as a model for all medical care in the U.S."

"Ryan taught us that AIDS can strike anyone, anywhere. As we work together to renew the Ryan White CARE Act, I urge the Congress and the Administration to provide adequate funding so that everyone who is in need of these lifesaving medications and medical care, can have the chance to live productive, healthy and longer lives."

"With as many as 1.1 million people in the U.S. living today with HIV/AIDS, and nearly 3 out of 4 of them uninsured or relying on public assistance, the CARE Act for them is a matter of life or death. This media campaign will remind Americans that HIV/AIDS exists in everyone's neighborhood and that despite the success of the Ryan White program, not all Americans have access to lifesaving care and treatment."

"The Ryan White CARE Act has a proven track record of success in providing lifesaving drugs as well as a full range of medical care and support services. The CARE Act is keeping people alive much longer than ever before. It has had strong bipartisan support from Congressional leaders over the years. We expect the same this year -- swift passage of reauthorization legislation this fall."


Frequently Asked Questions About
the Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization

Q: What is the Ryan White CARE Act?
A: Since 1990, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act has made federal funds available to metropolitan areas, states, clinics, hospitals and community-based organizations for healthcare costs and support services for low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Q: What is the Ryan White ACTION (AIDS Care and Treatment In Our Nation) Campaign?
A: The Ryan White ACTION Campaign is a national media campaign designed to raise awareness about the importance of the Ryan White CARE Act and why it needs to be reauthorized -- or renewed -- this year and adequately funded.
Q: Who is involved in the Ryan White ACTION Campaign?
A: The coalition behind the Ryan White ACTION Campaign includes The AIDS Institute, American Academy of HIV Medicine, HIV Medicine Association and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. The National Minority AIDS Council will also be assisting the campaign through access to its national network of service providers. If you are interested in supporting the campaign, please contact Arlyn Riskind at 1-202-457-8100 or ariskind@lipmanhearne.com.
Q: When does the Ryan White CARE Act expire?
A: It was first signed into law in 1990. The Act's authorization expires every five years. The current law expires on Sept. 30, 2005. This does not mean that programs won't continue. Congress will continue to fund the CARE Act programs regardless of authorization status.
Q: How many people are helped by the Ryan White CARE Act?
A: Approximately 577,000 people currently receive HIV/AIDS health care and antiretroviral treatment through the Ryan White CARE Act.
Q: How much money does the Ryan White CARE Act receive from Congress each year?
A: Currently, over $2 billion per year is spent on treatment and support services among those with HIV/AIDS.
Q: Is the same amount of money to be allocated in the reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act?
A: There are targets of maximum funding amounts that may be included in the reauthorization bill. However, funding of the Ryan White CARE Act each year is a separate process, called appropriations. Each year advocates call for adequate funding increases to allow the program to meet the growing needs of low-income people with HIV/AIDS who do not have other sources of healthcare coverage. For the past few years the Ryan White CARE Act has not received increased funding with the exception of minimal and inadequate increases to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
Q: Does the coalition have a basic position on how the CARE Act should function?
A: There are differences among some of the groups about how the Ryan White CARE Act should be altered in the future. But there is common agreement that the CARE Act is a very important part of the care and treatment system in the United States and that it needs to be strengthened and adequately funded.
Q: If I work at an AIDS organization in an urban or rural area, what should I know about this year's Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization?
A: We suggest that people living with HIV, family members, medical providers, social service workers and agency administrators let their members of Congress know about the importance of the CARE Act programs. We also suggest that people become familiar with the Administration's proposal for reauthorization, which will guide congressional action. This proposal and a variety of additional stakeholder positions can be found on the resource section of our Web site.
Q: What do you consider to be the five most important provisions for reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act?
A:
  1. Medical care and access to medications is critical. Today, unlike in the past, we have drugs that can save lives and improve the quality of life. People living with HIV, no matter where they live, should have access to well-trained medical providers and access to the drugs that will keep them alive.

  2. While medical care and drugs are crucial, we must also ensure the social support that people need to deal with HIV in their lives and to adhere to the drug regimens. For example, in some locations this may mean the need to ensure transportation to medical appointments.

  3. Many persons living with HIV/AIDS have co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. For those who are in need of such services, mental health therapy and substance abuse treatment must be made available.

  4. All the various programs within the Ryan White CARE Act as well as those that relate to it (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) must be better coordinated in order to provide a true continuum of care and to reduce costs due to unnecessary duplication, paperwork and red tape.

  5. Regardless of how the system may change, additional funding is needed to meet the medical, social support and housing needs of people living with HIV.
Q: What are the best ways someone affected by HIV can get involved and help?
A: Let your congressional representatives know how important the Ryan White CARE Act is to you.

In addition, there are a number of national organizations engaged in advocacy around the reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act. Here are a few with their Web sites:
Q: President Bush recently released principles from the White House guiding reauthorization. In those, he calls for a shift in Ryan White funds to areas most in need. What does this mean for both rural areas and urban areas?
A: There seems to be an attempt to ensure that some form of basic or core services are available to every person living with HIV, regardless of where they live. But there are differences of opinion about the definition of basic or core services. More importantly, current funding levels need to be increased if a truly meaningful standard of care and treatment is to be accessible and available to anyone eligible for Ryan White CARE Act services.