New York, September 28– The Latino Commission on AIDS supports the one year Ryan White Act legislation that was introduced in both the House and Senate by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

In an effort to stop attempts to take Federal HIV/AIDS funds away from areas with a high concentration of people living with the disease, a bi-partisan effort in Congress has created emergency legislation to temporarily reauthorize the Ryan White Act and increase funding levels so negotiations can continue. The Commission supports this effort to avoid CARE Act funding cuts to states where many Latinos access HIV/AIDS care through this vital funding source.

Since its enactment, the Ryan White CARE Act has helped thousands of Latinos living with HIV/AIDS to receive the care and treatment services they need to live healthy lives. Unfortunately, the Senate HELP Committee bill sent to the full Senate for a vote would cripple service delivery in many areas that have a high number of Latino HIV/AIDS cases (including NY, NJ, FL, PR and CA) by cutting millions of dollars from current funding. Such an outcome would effectively dismantle entire systems of care that serve thousands of Latinos.

The one year bill would maintain current authorization levels (slight increase due to inflation); establish emergency funding of $30 million for states without Title I Eligible Metropolitan Areas; bar unspent funding to be returned to the government;; and provide a one-year extension of the federal requirement that states report HIV data to the CDC using names-based system.

"There are too many lives at stake to adopt a law that could result in illness and perhaps death for thousands of people of color in states outside a select area. There has to be a better way." said Dennis deLeon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS.  "We need to adopt the Pallone/Lautenberg legislation to allow time to build a consensus for increased funding and fairer formulas. We can create a better long-term Ryan White CARE bill that would reflect the true need in all states. We cannot allow the health of the most disadvantaged to be marginalized.”  

This current one-year reauthorization will ensure that the system of HIV/AIDS care, treatment, testing, counseling, and other support services will continue to be available to the thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS around the country.

Those cosponsoring the Lautenberg legislation are fellow Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Barack Obama (D-IL), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NJ), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Bill Nelson (D-FL). In the House, Pallone was joined by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Jim Saxton (R-NJ) Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Mike Ferguson (R-NJ), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), Hilda Solis (D-CA) Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Eliot Engel (D-NY).

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