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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Waters Leads 54 Members Seeking Robust HIV/AIDS Funding in Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

January 30, 2015
Press Release

Waters Leads 54 Members Seeking Robust HIV/AIDS Funding in Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

 

December 19, 2014

 

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), a congressional leader on HIV/AIDS issues, sent a letter to the President urging him to include robust funding for domestic HIV/AIDS programs in his Budget Request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.  A total of 54 Members of Congress signed the Congresswoman's letter. 

 

The text of the letter follows:

 

We appreciate your strong commitment to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, and we urge you to prioritize funding for domestic HIV/AIDS programs as you develop your Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget Request. An increase in resources from the federal government is essential to achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and to move towards an AIDS-free generation. We understand that we are in difficult budgetary times, but we ask that you consider the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS as you work to allocate FY 2016 funding.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 50,000 new HIV infections every year in the United States.  Racial and ethnic minorities, men who have sex with men, and young people continue to be disproportionately impacted by this dreadful disease.  Moreover, of the 1.2 million Americans who were living with HIV in 2011, only 40 percent were receiving medical care and 30 percent had the virus under control.  Twenty percent did not even know they were infected. 

Enhanced investment in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and research is essential to reduce the rate of new HIV infections, improve treatment outcomes, reduce hospital and emergency room costs, and provide hope for a cure and/or vaccine to eventually eradicate HIV.  Critical coverage completion services such as case management, medical nutrition therapy, substance abuse and mental health services, and treatment adherence services are also crucial to the health of people living with HIV/AIDS.  Furthermore, because we now know effective HIV treatment prevents HIV transmission, comprehensive care for people living with HIV/AIDS is vital to our nation's public health and has the potential to dramatically decrease new HIV infections.

We urge you to include robust funding in your FY 2016 Budget Request for the following critical programs:

 

  1. The Ryan White Program, while continuing to fund Parts A, B, C, D, and F separately, in order to provide effective treatment, care, and coverage completion services to people living with HIV/AIDS;

  2. Prevention and surveillance programs carried out by the CDC, including the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), the Division of STD Prevention, and the Division of Viral Hepatitis;

  3. HIV/AIDS research carried out by the National Institutes of Health (NIH);

  4. The Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program;

  5. The Minority AIDS Initiative, which targets funding to minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS; and

  6. Adolescent Sexual Health Promotion Programs, including the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and the aforementioned DASH, while providing no funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which have been proven to be ineffective and harmful for adolescent health.

 

An increased commitment to these programs will ensure that we can make progress towards eliminating new infections while providing life-prolonging care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS.

In addition, we urge you to include in the Budget Request language to end the ban on the use of federal funds for syringe exchange programs and language that allows the use of local funds for syringe exchange programs in the District of Columbia.  Syringe exchange programs are an important tool for reducing the transmission of HIV among injection drug users.

We cannot afford to retreat in our battle against HIV and AIDS.  Again, we thank you for your continued leadership and support for these critical HIV/AIDS programs, and we look forward to working with you to ensure that they continue to receive strong support in Congress.

Sincerely,

 

Maxine Waters                                                                       Barbara Lee

Bill Pascrell, Jr.                                                                      Raúl M. Grijalva

James P. McGovern                                                               Jan Schakowsky 

Jerrold Nadler                                                                         Corrine Brown

Eleanor Holmes Norton                                                         Danny K. Davis

Bobby L. Rush                                                                        Elijah E. Cummings

Gregory W. Meeks                                                                 Henry C. "Hank" Johnson 

David Cicilline                                                                       Sheila Jackson Lee

Nydia Velázquez                                                                    Lucille Roybal-Allard 

Carolyn B. Maloney                                                               Al Green

Yvette D. Clarke                                                                     Alcee L. Hastings 

Charles B. Rangel                                                                   Steve Cohen

Luis V. Gutiérrez                                                                    Judy Chu

James R. Langevin                                                                 Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Frederica S. Wilson                                                                John Lewis

Karen Bass                                                                              Robin Kelly

Michael E. Capuano                                                               Juan Vargas

Hakeem Jeffries                                                                     Lois Frankel

Michael M. Honda                                                                 Jim Himes

Joyce Beatty                                                                           Ann McLane Kuster

Michelle Lujan Grisham                                                        David Scott

Joseph Kennedy                                                                      Julia Brownley 

Jim McDermott                                                                      Keith Ellison

John C. Conyers, Jr.                                                               Madeleine Z. Bordallo

Mike Quigley                                                                         Eliot L. Engel

Louise M. Slaughter                                                               Marcia L. Fudge

Adam B. Schiff                                                                       David Price

 

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