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Latino Groups Across the Country Unite to Oppose Bush Administration's




 

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 70 of our nation's leading Latino HIV/AIDS service providers and advocates have come together under the umbrella of the Latino AIDS Action Coalition to oppose the Bush Administration's proposed changes to the Ryan White CARE Act, the largest federal program for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Administration seeks to revise the Act's funding formulas to shift money from localities disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS to states that have dedicated fewer resources to caring for their residents with HIV/AIDS. Under the proposed plans, localities with high HIV prevalence like New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Connecticut, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico and others will suffer devastating cuts in funding for AIDS care and treatment.

Dennis deLeon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS stressed that: "The Ryan White CARE Act was created to assist people living with HIV/AIDS that cannot afford to receive treatment on their own, a majority of which are Latinos and African-Americans. These are the people that will suffer if the proposed revisions to the CARE Act are enacted."

"The proposed changes will have devastating consequences for Latinos and others living with HIV/AIDS who reside in the states most heavily affected by the epidemic," said Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, President of the Hispanic Federation. That is a prescription for a health disaster and is in every way unacceptable."

Terrance O'Neill, CEO of Amigos Volunteers in Education and Services in Houston, Texas stated: "As the CEO of a community based organization in Texas that provides services to many Latinos living with HIV, the possibility of our state losing Ryan White funding is quite frightening. Texas stands to lose 14% of its funding in medical care for Latinos with AIDS. I am not willing to be silent while we 'rob Peter to pay Paul' especially in matters of life and death."

LAAC disagrees with the Ryan White CARE Act reauthorization principles presented by the Bush Administration because they would have a devastating impact on the continuum of HIV/AIDS care and services available to Latinos in many high impacted areas and undermine incentives for states with a growing HIV-affected population to devote resources sufficient to address local HIV care and treatment needs.

"All persons residing in the United States who are HIV/AIDS positive should have access to comprehensive care and treatment services. The best way to ensure that this happens is by increasing overall federal HIV/AIDS funding and demanding that all states devote significant resources to care for their residents living with HIV/AIDS," said Oscar de la O, Executive Director for Bienestar Human Services in California.

On Wednesday, March 1, the Senate HELP Committee will begin the process of reauthorization by holding hearings regarding the reauthorization of the CARE Act. The Bush Administration has already outlined plans to modify the existing legislation. The LAAC calls on the Senate HELP Committee and the House Energy Commerce Committee to show their commitment to supporting those living with this terrible disease by expanding support and reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act.

The Latino AIDS Action Coalition is a united voice for the Latino community in our efforts to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Coalition consists of Latino-serving community based organizations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For more information on the Latino AIDS Action Coalition, please visit http://www.latinoaidsaction.org.

SOURCE Latino AIDS Action Coalition

Web Site: http://www.latinoaidsaction.org

http://www.hispanicfederation.org



 


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Information in this article was accurate in February 28, 2006. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.