January 26, 2011
For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2011 Contact:
Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333
NMAC Statement on the President’s State of the Union Address
The following is a statement from National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Deputy Executive Director Daniel C. Montoya:
Washington, DC – “Tonight, in his third State of the Union address, President Obama focused largely on our nation’s economy and job creation. But he also called for a five-year freeze on non-security, discretionary spending to address the nation’s growing deficit. While reducing the long-term deficit may be important for our country’s fiscal health, freezing government funding at current levels would leave massive gaps in HIV/AIDS services that will only continue to grow. “Freezing spending at current levels would leave a gap of more than $700 million in funding for direct HIV/AIDS treatment and housing services this year alone. Given the increasing number of Americans in need of these critical services, this gap in funding will likely grow significantly over the next five years. “What’s more, the same principles the President outlined as essential in responding to our economic crisis – investment, innovation and education – are just as crucial in our response to the AIDS epidemic.
With more than 56,000 Americans infected each year, we must increase our investment in HIV prevention services that not only save the lives of countless Americans, but also save billions of dollars in treatment costs. We must identify new and innovative ways to reach high-risk populations and address the disproportionate impact the epidemic has had on minority communities. And we must educate the public, particularly young people, about the risks associated with HIV/AIDS, including comprehensive sexual education.
“The President has shown a commitment to improving our nation’s healthcare system by passing healthcare reform and calling for the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. But the goals outlined in the Affordable Care Act and the Strategy cannot be accomplished if federal funding remains stagnant. These initiatives are critical to improving our nation’s response to HIV/AIDS and the lives of those living with the disease. President Obama should stand firm, and continue to push for full implementation and funding of these goals.
“There must be shared sacrifice in addressing our deficit in a responsible manner. AIDS service organizations across the country have been tightening their belts, looking for ways to provide critical services in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible, and they should continue to do so. But Congress must understand that hundreds of thousands of Americans receive crucial HIV/AIDS services, including life-saving medications, through federally-funded programs. Cutting America’s deficit should not be done at the expense of its own citizens’ lives.”
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) represents a coalition of 3,000 faith based and community based organizations as well as AIDS service organizations advocating and delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color nationwide. Since 1987, NMAC has developed leadership in communities of color through a variety of advocacy campaigns, public policy education programs, national conferences, research programs, capacity building, technical assistance and trainings, and digital and electronic resource materials. For more information visit www.nmac.org.