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New Multimillion Dollar Increase to Combat HIV and AIDS

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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 18, 2000

Presidentís Budget Includes Largest Ever Increase for Prevention
January 18, 2000

Today, the White House announced that the Presidentís FY 2001 budget will include a major increase in funding for programs that treat HIV and AIDS and prevent the spread of the disease. The President has proposed an additional $50 million, the largest increase ever in funding for HIV activities to encourage individuals at risk to avoid behaviors that can result in the transmission of the disease. In addition, the budget will invest an additional $125 million in the Ryan White Program, an increase of almost 8 percent over last yearís funding level, to provide primary medical care, pharmaceuticals critical to treatment, and other critical support services for people living with HIV and AIDS.

ALTHOUGH MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE, HIV REMAINS A SERIOUS PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM NATIONWIDE. In 1996, for the first time in the history of the AIDS epidemic, the number of Americans diagnosed with AIDS declined. Between 1996 and 1997, HIV/AIDS mortality declined 42 percent, falling from the leading cause of death among 25 to 44 year olds in 1995 to the fifth leading cause of death in that age group. There has also been a decline in the number of AIDS cases overall and a sharp decline in new AIDS cases in infants and children. However, more needs to be done.

  • The incidence of HIV infections continues at an unacceptable rate. The number of new infections has remained stable with approximately 40,000 Americans infected with HIV in 1998. Approximately half of those infections occurred in those under 25 years of age, and half occurred as a direct or indirect result of injection drug use. Just last week, the CDC reported that the percentage of AIDS cases among gay men of color had gone beyond that of white gay and bisexual men for the first time since the epidemic began.
  • Minorities are disproportionately by affected by HIV and AIDS. Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics accounted for 47 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of persons diagnosed with AIDS in 1997, the highest proportions thus far in the epidemic. While racial and ethnic groups account only for about 25 percent of the U.S. population, they account for more than 50 percent of all AIDS cases. And although AIDS deaths are down, AIDS remains the leading killer of African-Americans aged 25 to 44.
  • Strong, targeted, community based HIV and AIDS prevention efforts provide a virtual vaccine against the spread of HIV and AIDS. While the number of AIDS cases is declining, the number of people living with HIV and AIDS is growing. Currently, up to 900,000 Americans are believed to be living with HIV/AIDS, the virus that causes AIDS.

CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES MAJOR NEW INVESTMENT IN HIV AND AIDS PREVENTION AND TREATMENT. Today, the Clinton-Gore Administration will announce a new initiative to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS nationwide and provide critical treatment and social support services to those already infected.

  • New investment of $125 million to provide treatment for individuals with HIV and AIDS. The Ryan White program has worked effectively to dramatically improve the quality of life for people living with HIV and AIDS; reduce the use of costly inpatient care; and increase access to care for underserved populations, including people of color. Since the beginning of the program, CARE Act providers have experienced an increase of over 30 percent in the number of new patients they see. This new investment will these providers offer additional primary medical care, AIDS drugs, viral load testing, treatment information, assistance in adhering to complicated treatment regimens, and other essential support services for the tens of thousands of people with HIV and AIDS.
  • New investment of $50 million in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS. This initiative will invest $50 million in prevention efforts, the largest increase ever, to:
  • Educate thousands of Americans about the importance of learning their HIV status. Of the up to 900,000 people believed to be living with HIV in the United States, up to a third do not know that they are infected. These are individuals who are most likely to continue the behaviors that resulted in their own infection and will likely result in the infection of others. The initiative that the President is announcing today will continue the CDCís "Know Your Status" campaign; launch highly focused outreach campaigns targeted to individuals at high risk, including minorities, women, and young gay and bisexual men; and expand current systems of voluntary counseling, testing, and partner notification services.
  • Reach out to populations with the greatest risk of infection. Because each state has an AIDS epidemic that is unique in its impact and breadth, local programs are the most likely to reach at-risk persons in an effective manner. New funds will be given to state and local public health agencies to expand community prevention planning, with a special emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities, women, injection drug users and their partners, and young gay and bisexual men.

THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATIONíS LONGSTANDING COMMITMENT TO PREVENTING AND TREATING HIV AND AIDS. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked hard to invigorate the response to HIV and AIDS, providing new national leadership, substantially greater resources and a closer working relationship with affected communities. During their Administration, funding for AIDS research has increased by 87 percent at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), while funding for HIV prevention has increased 47 percent. Funding for the Ryan White CARE Act has increased by over 338 percent.

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