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Congresswoman Waters and 44 Other Members of Congress Seek Increased Minority AIDS Initiative Funding

July 21, 2009
Press Release

Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) is continuing her fight to fully fund the Minority AIDS Initiative.  Last Friday, Rep. Waters sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations requesting an appropriation of $610 million for the Minority AIDS Initiative in fiscal year 2008.  A bipartisan group of 45 Members of Congress signed the letter.  The text of the letter follows:

We are writing to request that you provide an appropriation of $610 million for the Minority AIDS Initiative in the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, racial and ethnic minorities represent 71% of new AIDS cases and 64% of Americans living with AIDS.  African Americans account for 50% of new AIDS cases, although only 12% of the population is black.  Hispanics account for 19% of new AIDS cases, although only 14% of the population is Hispanic.  Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders account for 1% of new AIDS cases, and American Indians/Alaska Natives account for up to 1%.  Clearly, racial and ethnic minorities shoulder a disproportionate burden of HIV and AIDS in the United States today.

These statistics demonstrate the tremendous importance of the Minority AIDS Initiative.  This critical initiative provides funds to community based organizations, research institutions, minority serving colleges and universities, health care organizations, state and local health departments, and correctional institutions to help them address the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the minority populations they serve.  Thus, it enables organizations and providers to expand and strengthen their capacity to deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate care and services.  As a result, the Initiative fills gaps in prevention, treatment, surveillance, infrastructure, outreach and education across communities of color.

We urge you to provide $610 million for the Minority AIDS Initiative in fiscal year 2008. We thank you for your attention to our concerns, and we look forward to working with you to expand programs for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in minority communities throughout the United States.

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