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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009

October 21, 2009
Floor Statement
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) today offered the following statement in support of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009:

"Madam Speaker.

I rise to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, which reauthorizes the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program for four years. The Ryan White program provides critical funds to cities, states and non-profit organizations for medical treatment and support services for people living with HIV and AIDS. The program currently serves more than 500,000 HIV-positive low-income people throughout the United States, many of whom would not be alive today without it.

The continuing need for the Ryan White Program cannot be overstated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States today, and every 9½ minutes, another person is infected.

Racial and ethnic minorities continue to be severely impacted by HIV/AIDS. African Americans account for 49% of new AIDS diagnoses, and Hispanics account for 19%. All minority groups combined represent 65% of new HIV infections, 67% of people living with HIV/AIDS, 71% of new AIDS cases, and 70% of deaths caused by AIDS.

Eleven years ago, in order to address the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS among minorities, I worked with my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and the Clinton Administration to develop the Minority AIDS Initiative. This initiative provides funds to community-based organizations in order to build their capacity to serve minority communities and deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate care and services.

This bill recognizes the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS among minorities and reauthorizes key provisions of the Minority AIDS Initiative. The bill requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on activities under the Minority AIDS Initiative across governmental agencies and identify best practices in capacity-building. It also requires the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare a plan for the use of Minority AIDS Initiative funding, taking into consideration the GAO report.

I thank my good friend Delegate Donna Christensen, along with the other Members and staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee, for consulting with my office on the reauthorization of the Minority AIDS Initiative, and I appreciate all of their work on this bill.

I urge my colleagues to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009.

I yield back the balance of my time."