HIV/AIDS Advocates From Alabama, South Carolina Call for Reauthorization of Ryan White CARE Act
HIV/AIDS activists in Alabama and South Carolina on Monday joined the National Minority Health Month Foundation in calling on Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act -- which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S. -- before Congress adjourns next month, the Tuscaloosa News reports (Herriman, Tuscaloosa News, 11/14). Congress in September adjourned without the Senate passing a measure to reauthorize the CARE Act. Five senators, including some from New Jersey and New York state, blocked Senate consideration of a House-approved bill (HR 6143) sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) that would change CARE Act funding formulas so that rural areas experiencing increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases receive higher funding amounts, which would decrease funding allocated to urban areas. Some legislators from states with large urban areas -- including California, New Jersey and New York -- have opposed measures that would change CARE Act funding formulas, saying they could harm HIV/AIDS programs in areas with higher HIV prevalence (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/14). Southern states would be able to expand their lists of HIV/AIDS medications covered under the CARE Act if the current version of the measure is approved, Kathie Hiers, CEO of the not-for-profit group AIDS Alabama, said, adding that if additional funding were granted for the measure, it would ease objections from states whose funding would be decreased. According to Bambi Gaddist, executive director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, three HIV-positive people in the state have died while on the waiting list for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program. About 20 people are on Alabama's ADAP waiting list, according to Hiers. According to CDC, 45% of all AIDS cases diagnosed in 2003 were in the South (Tuscaloosa News, 11/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.