AIDS Advocates Ask for Additional Ryan White CARE Act Funding During Denver Rally
The Denver Mayor's Office of HIV Resources and community organizations on Tuesday held a rally to urge federal lawmakers to increase funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and other services under the Ryan White CARE Act, which expires on Sept. 30 and is scheduled for reauthorization, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reports. The event also marked the beginning of a national initiative, called the Campaign to End AIDS, during which advocates will make a cross-country trip that will end with a rally in Washington, D.C. in November. President Bush has proposed cuts to the CARE Act. Advocates say that funding cuts would prevent essential services -- such as emergency housing, food aid and financial assistance -- from reaching HIV-positive people who need assistance, according to Robin Valdez, director of the Mayor's Office of HIV Resources. Walt Senterfitt, an advocate from Los Angeles who is a national co-chair of C2EA, said at the rally that he is concerned CARE Act funding cuts would make it more difficult for low-income HIV-positive people to access treatment. "We want prevention, not politics," Senterfitt said, adding, "We need to get out in front in funding. We cannot be a catastrophe we have to live with for the rest of our lives" (Doligosa, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 9/28).
Groups Launch Awareness Campaign
Four national HIV/AIDS organizations -- The AIDS Institute, the HIV Medicine Association, the American Academy of HIV Medicine and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors -- last week launched the Ryan White ACTION (AIDS Care and Treatment In Our Nation) Campaign to raise public awareness of the need to reauthorize the CARE Act and urge Congress to expand the current programs funded under the act. RWAC was formed with the assistance of a grant from the Gill Foundation and four other foundations. "It is time to shine the spotlight once again on the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is expanding to new communities and new regions across the U.S., with an estimated 40,000 new infections occurring each year," HIVMA Executive Director Christine Lubinski said, adding, "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" (RWAC release, 9/22).