Washington, DC – Six days before National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, President Obama released his FY 2015 budget which eliminates funding for Ryan White Part D by moving the funding to the Part C category.
“I am truly dismayed that the President would eliminate funding for Ryan White Part D from his budget,” commented Dr. Ivy Turnbull, Deputy Executive Director of the AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families (AIDS Alliance). “Ryan White Part D is the lifeline for women, infants, children and youth living with HIV/AIDS. The Part D programs are instrumental in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and for ensuring that women and youth have access to quality HIV care. Since the program’s inception in 1988, the Part D programs have been and continue to be the entry point into medical care for women and youth and, in many communities or regions, Part D programs are the only perinatal clinical service available to serve HIV-positive pregnant women and youth. Removing Part D from the federal budget would eliminate a strong safety net for our most vulnerable populations and weaken the system of care these programs have created and invested in for more than 25 years.” Many of the population served by Part D will be lost or never enter into care,
Over concerns with the increase in the number of pediatric AIDS cases, Congress first acted to address pediatric cases in 1987 by providing $5 million for the Pediatric AIDS Demonstration Projects in the FY 1988 budget. At the end of 1987, 737 pediatric AIDS cases had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 410 cases at the end of 1986. Those demonstration projects became part of the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990 which today is known as Ryan White Part D and have served thousands of children and families.
Today the Ryan White Part D grantees are organizations that respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their area through the provision of family-centered, primary medical care and support services to women, infants, children, and youth with HIV/AIDS when no other options or services are available. The services they provide are unique and are not currently being provided by other parts of the Ryan White Program, including Ryan White Part C’s.
“This is not the way to make changes to patient’s lives or the lives of the families still struggling with HIV/AIDS every day,” commented Janet Kitchen, HIV advocate and a woman living with HIV. “I am shocked that this is happening when the services for women and children are so important and the President has invested so much in promoting health care access in this country. I believe everyone in the HIV community should be concerned about this and the community should be involved with the administration and congress to discuss and create a system that serves the people in need.”
AIDS Alliance strongly urges the President to withdraw this action and use the congressional reauthorization process of the Ryan White Program to thoughtfully and fully explore changes such as these. We would be glad to work closely with HRSA to discuss and plan for appropriate changes to the Ryan White program while ensuring that consumers are protected.
Ryan White Part D programs have been extremely effective in bringing the most vulnerable populations into and retained in care. The program is built on a foundation of combining medical care and essential support services that are coordinated, comprehensive, and culturally and linguistically competent. The President’s FY 2015 budget should have increased Part D funding as opposed to eliminating the funding for the unique systems of care created by Part D. We will not make progress in ending AIDS without supporting all of the Parts of Ryan White.
According to the CDC, in 2009, young persons accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections in the U.S. For comparison's sake, persons aged 15–29 comprised 21% of the US population in 2010. Additionally young MSM, especially those of minority races and ethnicities, are at increased risk for HIV infection. In 2009, young MSM accounted for 27% of new HIV infections in the U.S. and 69% of new HIV infections among persons aged 13–29. Among young black MSM, new HIV infections increased 48% from 2006 through 2009. These statistics will only get worse if Part D is eliminated.
“Although we applaud the President for keeping his commitment to the domestic HIV/AIDS crisis we call upon him to restore funding to Ryan White Part D in his FY 2015 budget. We further call on his administration to work with congress to thoughtfully reauthorize the Ryan White Program and work with consumers, community advocates and the medical community to discuss the changes to the law that has saved countless lives,” commented, Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute and AIDS Alliance”
AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families www.aids-alliance.org is a national program of The AIDS Institute
For more information or to become involved please contact: Dr. Ivy Turnbull, Deputy Executive Director, AIDS Alliance at: 202.754.1858 ITurnbull@aids-alliance.org