Crowley Applauds House Passage of Ryan White AIDS Program Extension

Oct 23, 2009 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. —Congressman Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) applauded final Congressional passage of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act (S. 1793) this week by the U.S. House of Representatives.  New York State receives more than $300 million in Ryan White funds are used to provide a range of health care and support services, including life-saving medications. Through Ryan White programs, 22,000 uninsured New Yorkers receive medications and ambulatory care services and thousands more receive other essential services such as mental health, case management, nutrition, and treatment adherence support services.  The Ryan White Extension Act, approved overwhelmingly by a vote of 408-9, now goes to the President for final signature into law.

“I am proud to be a continuing supporter of the Ryan White program, a vital health services initiative that provides quality care and medical services to New Yorkers afflicted by HIV/AIDS,” said Congressman Crowley.  “I urge President Obama to keep this program strong by signing this bill into law as soon as possible.  It will ensure the continuation of care for so many in need in our community.”

All parts of the Ryan White program have been in desperate need of increased funding for the past three years.  Modern medical advancements have made it possible for more individuals to live full lives despite an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, which means there are more individuals living with the disease and in need of services.

First established in 1990, the Ryan White Program has made it easier for HIV/AIDS patients to afford the costly medical treatments they need to survive. Today, the program provides care, treatment and support services to nearly half a million people – most of whom are low-income.  Today’s extension will increase the authorization level for each part of the program by 5% a year for the next 4 years to ensure that we continue to provide access to vital health benefits for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured Americans. It also makes investments to improve care in regions of the country with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS, and helps to eliminate disparities in access to care among racial and ethnic groups by funding the Minority AIDS Initiative – a program that ensures minority populations receive uninterrupted, quality care for HIV/AIDS. 

There are more than 50,000 new HIV/AIDS infections reported each year.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV/AIDS.  Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, an estimated 580,000 Americans with AIDS have died.