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Congresswoman Waters Celebrates National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day

July 21, 2010
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) today celebrated National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day and encouraged the nation's health care workers to be tested for HIV.

"Doctors, nurses, and other clinicians play a critical role in furthering the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce the number of new HIV infections, increase access to care, and reduce health disparities.  I urge all clinicians to become actively involved in HIV/AIDS services in their communities, and I urge all clinicians to take an HIV test and set a good example for their patients to follow," said Congresswoman Waters, who has been tested for HIV herself in order to demonstrate the ease and importance of HIV testing.

Congresswoman Waters has introduced a resolution, H.Res. 1547, in honor of the third annual National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day.  A total of 24 Members of Congress cosponsored this resolution.  The resolution urges physicians, nurses, dentists and other clinicians nationwide to become actively involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, testing, treatment, and referral services, and it also urges individuals to get tested for HIV and educate themselves about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. 

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy was released by President Barack Obama last week.  Congresswoman Waters commended the President for releasing the strategy and urged that sufficient funding be provided for its implementation. 

"I am pleased that the President has responded to the national HIV/AIDS community's call for a national strategy to deal with this growing epidemic in our country," said Congresswoman Waters.  "The continuing spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in minority communities, requires a strong commitment to adequate funding.  Hopefully, the funding issue will be addressed during follow-up efforts to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy."

Congresswoman Waters has sponsored several other initiatives in the 111th Congress to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, testing and treatment. 

1. Encouraging HIV screening:  Congresswoman Waters introduced H.R. 2137, the Routine HIV Screening Coverage Act.  This bill would require health insurance plans to cover routine HIV tests under the same terms and conditions as other routine health screenings and therefore encourage and enable more Americans to be tested for HIV.  This bill has 46 cosponsors representing both political parties.

2. Expanding the Minority AIDS Initiative:  Congresswoman Waters continues her efforts to expand the Minority AIDS Initiative, which she established as Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1998 to expand HIV awareness, testing, and treatment among racial and ethnic minorities.  HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in minority communities.  The Initiative received $402.9 million in Fiscal Year 2010, and Congresswoman Waters and 56 of her colleagues have requested a record $610 million for Fiscal Year 2011 to ensure that the Initiative has the resources needed to combat the AIDS epidemic in these communities. 

3. Preventing the spread of AIDS:  She introduced H.R. 1429, the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives on March 17, 2009, and now awaits consideration in the Senate.  This bill requires the Federal Bureau of Prisons to test all prison inmates for HIV, unless the inmate opts out of taking the test.  The bill also requires HIV/AIDS prevention education for all inmates and comprehensive treatment for those who test positive.