Congresswoman Waters Commends the President for Releasing National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Urges Funding Commensurate to the Task
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) commended the President for his release of a national AIDS strategy and urged that sufficient funding be provided to implement the strategy. The White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and an accompanying NHAS Federal Implementation Plan yesterday.
"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, and I am encouraged that the strategy focuses on the three primary goals of reducing the number of new infections, increasing access to care for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities," 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 made combating HIV/AIDS one of her top priorities in Congress and is a leading supporter of funding for HIV/AIDS programs. She works with national, state, and local community organizations and health groups to expand testing, prevention, outreach, research, treatment and care for people with HIV/AIDS.
"I am well aware that many national and community groups and organizations had a hand in shaping this policy, and I am grateful to them for their hard work. I trust they will continue to stress the need for sustained and increased federal funding for this strategy. I look forward to reviewing the full details of the plan," said Congresswoman Waters.
Congresswoman Waters introduced the Stop AIDS in Prison Act (H.R. 1429), which the House of Representatives passed last year. The bill requires the Bureau of Prisons to test all inmates for HIV upon entering prison and then test them again prior to release, unless the inmate opts-out of taking the test, and requires HIV/AIDS prevention education for all inmates and comprehensive treatment for those who test positive.
"My legislation, the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, passed the House last year and currently awaits consideration in the Senate. I am hopeful that the President's strategy, which in part seeks to address the effects of HIV/AIDS within the prison population, will encourage the Senate to pass this legislation without delay," said Congresswoman Waters.
As Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1998, Congresswoman Waters created the Minority AIDS Initiative, which provides grants to community-based organizations and health care providers for HIV/AIDS testing, treatment and prevention programs serving racial and ethnic minority communities. The Initiative received $402.9 million last year, 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.
Congresswoman Waters also introduced the Routine HIV Screening Coverage Act (H.R. 2137) last year, which would require health insurance plans to cover routine HIV tests under the same terms and conditions as other routine health screenings. This bill has 46 cosponsors.