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Ryan White Funding Proposal Demonstrates Neglect of US' Growing AIDS Epidemic, Says AHF
Date:12/17/2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today strongly criticized Ryan White CARE Act funding levels contained in the latest budget package drafted by Congress in order to meet the restrictions of President George W. Bush's spending target for next year. The fiscal year 2008 Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education appropriations bill, which passed the House today and is expected to be introduced in the Senate tomorrow, includes only a slight overall increase of $29 million for this $2.17 billion program-not even enough to keep pace with inflation. This negligible increase comes on the heels of widespread reports that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is poised to release new data showing up to a 50% increase in the rate of new HIV infections.

"The essentially flat AIDS funding proposed in this latest budget comes at a time when the infection rate is 25 to 50% higher than originally thought, demonstrating the government's unfortunate neglect of this country's growing AIDS epidemic," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the US' largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare, research, prevention and education provider. "The intention of the updated reauthorized Ryan White bill was to make the funding allocations more equitable. Unfortunately, the result of this latest funding proposal is that small states will receive less money to combat their growing epidemics. We urge Congress and the White House to re-think the proposed CARE Act funding levels and to provide the funds necessary to mount an adequate response. Net decreases in AIDS spending at this crucial time will guarantee the continued growth of this country's epidemic."

The Ryan White CARE Act, the nation's primary funding mechanism to provide HIV/AIDS treatment to Americans in need, was reauthorized last year after a lengthy, bi-partisan process that resulted in a long-overdue updating of the bill to addr
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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
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