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Congresswoman Waters Commends the AIDS Institute for Focusing on Women

July 21, 2009
Press Release

Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) congratulated The AIDS Institute for launching a New Women's Program to focus attention on the spread of HIV/AIDS among women.

"This New Women's Program could not be more timely.  The impact of HIV/AIDS on women in America has grown significantly, and the impact on women of color, especially black women, is severe," said Congresswoman Waters.

In 1985, women accounted for only 8% of new AIDS cases.  Today, they account for 27%.  Black women represent an astonishing 67% of new AIDS cases among women.  The AIDS case rate among black women is 24 times the case rate for white women.

"I am working to expand HIV testing among women and men throughout America.  In February, I introduced H.R. 822, the Routine HIV/AIDS 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," said the Congresswoman.  H.R. 822 now has 39 cosponsors.

"Last month, I introduced H.R. 1943, the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, a bill to require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to test all prison inmates for HIV upon entering prison and then test them again prior to release.  The bill also requires HIV/AIDS prevention education for all inmates and comprehensive treatment for those who test positive," said Congresswoman Waters.  H.R. 1943 now has 26 cosponsors.

According to the Department of Justice, 40% of Federal prison inmates in 2003 were black and 32% were Hispanic.  The Department of Justice also reported that the rate of confirmed AIDS cases in prisons is three times higher than in the general U.S. population. 

"Finally, I am continuing my efforts to expand the Minority AIDS Initiative.  On April 27, I sent a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders requesting an appropriation of $610 million for the Minority AIDS Initiative in fiscal year 2008.  A total of 85 Members of Congress signed my letter," said Congresswoman Waters. 

"I believe these three measures will go along way towards reducing HIV infections and AIDS cases among women," said the Congresswoman.

"I commend The AIDS Institute for bringing a new focus on women.  We will never be able to stop the spread of AIDS until we confront the impact of this disease on women," said Congresswoman Waters.