Ryan White CARE Act Programs ‘Slowing Spread’ of HIV/AIDS, HHS Report Says
Programs that receive funding under the Ryan White CARE Act are "slowing the spread" of HIV in the United States by reducing AIDS incidence and mortality among the poor, uninsured or underinsured, according to report released by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration on Monday during the 2004 Ryan White CARE Act Grantee Conference in Washington, D.C., according to an HHS release. The biennial progress report, titled "The AIDS Epidemic and the Ryan White CARE Act: Past Successes and Future Challenges," found that federally funded HIV/AIDS treatment and care providers are "very good at reaching populations historically underserved by the larger health care system, such as racial and ethnic minorities." The Ryan White CARE Act funds more than 2,700 providers who serve a total of more than 500,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. According to the report, at least one of every two CARE Act clients lived below the federal poverty level in 2002; fewer than one in 10 had any private insurance; and only 29.7% were enrolled in Medicare. In the same year, more than two-thirds of all CARE Act funds were used for primary care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, according to the report. The report proposed that the "capacity of providers working in underserved areas must be increased" and "providers must adapt to an environment of few new resources, rising costs and growing HIV/AIDS prevalence," according to the HHS release. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said, "The findings of this report show that this department is making a tremendous difference for the hundreds of thousands of Americans with HIV/AIDS." HRSA Administrator Elizabeth Duke said, "While we recognize significant challenges ahead, these funds and this care have had dramatic results in decreasing perinatal [HIV] transmission and deaths due to AIDS" (HHS release, 8/23).
Webcasts of select sessions of the CARE Act conference are available online from kaisernetwork.org.