The following is a statement from National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Director of Legislative and Public Affairs Kali Lindsey:
Washington, DC – “Barely two months ago, President Obama outlined a powerful vision for bringing an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in his speech commemorating World AIDS Day. This morning, in his fiscal year 2013 budget request, the president translated his words into a call for Congressional action. Given our nation’s difficult fiscal climate, President Obama’s call for increased HIV/AIDS funding demonstrates his steadfast commitment to combatting this epidemic and realizing what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called an ‘AIDS-free generation.’
“In his budget, the president requested an additional $75 million in funding for Ryan White programs, including $67 million for the struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides access to critical care and treatment services for individuals with no other avenue for accessing them. President Obama also called for an additional $30 million in HIV/AIDS prevention funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and $20 million to support care provided by HIV clinics across the country, while maintaining current funding levels for critical research initiatives at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“NMAC is also pleased by the president’s call for additional funding for the Indian Health Service (IHS). While his request did not specifically reference HIV/AIDS, expanding IHS infrastructure and capacity is critical if we are to address the epidemic within this community. American Indians and Alaska Natives have the third highest rate of HIV infection of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S. Strengthening this program is essential to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS within native communities.
“While the president’s budget reflects a laudable commitment to the struggle against HIV/AIDS, it still fails to prioritize housing as an essential component of prevention and public health. Despite the call for improved targeting of funds through the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program, the budget includes a $3 million cut to its overall funding. Access to affordable and safe housing is critical for not only preventing new HIV infections, but also improving health outcomes for those living with HIV or AIDS.
“President Obama’s leadership, both in terms of developing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been indispensible to the fight to end this 30 year epidemic. NMAC is committed to working with him and Congressional leadership to ensure that the U.S. continues to lead the global fight against HIV/AIDS. We have the tools to bring an end to this terrible epidemic, but cannot realize this goal without the full support and commitment from our legislators here in Washington and in state capitals across the country.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333