South Carolina To Receive More Ryan White Funding Under Reauthorization; Maryland Could Lose Some HIV/AIDS Funding
South Carolina is scheduled to receive an increase in federal funding for HIV/AIDS treatment programs after the passage of a compromise bill (HR 6143) that would reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S., the Columbia State reports (Reid, Columbia State , 12/12). Congress on Saturday passed the bill by voice vote. The legislation calls for strengthening "hold harmless" provisions and maintaining funding levels so that states would not receive less than 95% of their 2006 funding levels; counting all HIV-positive people for funding regardless of where they live or how the data are reported; maintaining the funding pool for prescription drugs and therapeutics; continuing HHS development of a framework addressing HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and a follow-up report of their progress in 2008; and maintaining a four-year transition period for states with code-based reporting systems to switch to names-based reporting systems without penalization. The compromise also would repeal the Ryan White program after three years, forcing Congress to write a new law and reconsider the program's structural challenges before then, Senate aides said (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/11). According to the State, the CARE Act funds are "much-needed" and will help cover a $3 million budget shortfall in South Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, a federal- and state-funded program that provides HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals. "Finally, the needs of the South were heard ... more services and better medical care for low-income people living with" HIV/AIDS, Kathie Hiers, co-chair of the Southern AIDS Coalition, said. According to the State, 324 HIV-positive people as of Nov. 29 were on the state's ADAP waiting list (Columbia State , 12/12). In related news, the South Carolina Campaign to End AIDS on Tuesday ahead of a meeting of the state Budget and Control Board rallied for an increase in ADAP funds following the death of a fourth person who was awaiting HIV/AIDS treatment (Reid, Columbia State , 12/12).
Maryland Could Lose Some HIV/AIDS Funding
The compromise bill that would reauthorize the CARE Act is expected to cut some of Maryland's $36 million in HIV/AIDS funding next year, but it will give the state four years to report newly diagnosed HIV cases using a names-based system, the Baltimore Sun reports (Bor, Baltimore Sun, 12/12). Legislation that reauthorized the CARE Act in 2000 gave states six years to begin reporting people who are HIV-positive by name -- not numerical code, as Maryland currently does (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/1). According to Kima Taylor, Baltimore's assistant health commissioner for health promotion and disease prevention, $20 million in CARE Act funding to the city and six surrounding counties could be reduced by 5%. In addition, the state's total CARE Act funding of $36 million also could be reduced by 5%, the Sun reports. Maryland AIDS Administrator Heather Hauck said she will push to pass legislation in the General Assembly that would allow the state to begin reporting new HIV/AIDS cases by name. Colin Flynn, epidemiology chief at the state AIDS Administration, said the reporting of new HIV cases using a name-based reporting system should not be difficult. However, converting 12 years of cases -- a total of 18,000 people -- from codes to names will be a big challenge that will require the help of physicians, according to the Sun. The agency is preparing to overhaul the reporting system and has submitted a plan to CDC, the Sun reports (Baltimore Sun, 12/12).