WASHINGTON, July 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Financial Services appropriations bill for the coming fiscal year that includes $1.4 million to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy for the development of a National AIDS Strategy. The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee included a similar provision in their bill that passed in June. The funding would support staff, meeting expenses, regional consultations and communications costs to develop and oversee the implementation of a National AIDS Strategy for the United States.
"HIV/AIDS in the U.S. is at crisis levels, while the Administration has failed to respond appropriately to address the domestic epidemic and the pervasive disparities across race, gender and socio-economic status," said Ronald Johnson, Deputy Executive Director, AIDS Action. "We need a national strategy to drive a more effective, outcomes-oriented domestic response to HIV/AIDS."
The United States government, through enforcement of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), requires recipient countries to have a strategy addressing their respective domestic epidemics in place. The U.S. does not currently hold itself to the same standard.
The National AIDS Strategy appropriations success comes after years of tireless work by hundreds of organizations and individuals. In May of 2008, the first Congressional briefing on the need for a National AIDS Strategy was hosted. Thus far, more than 1,000 individuals and 293 organizations have endorsed the campaign for this strategy at www.nationalaidsstrategy.org
"We are incredibly encouraged to see bodies within both chambers of Congress support the development of a National AIDS Strategy which will facilitate continuity of the domestic governmental response to the epidemic, ensuring resources and efforts are maximized," said Dr. Marjorie Hill, Chief Executive Officer at Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). "We strongly believe the National AIDS Strategy will help reduce the number of new HIV infections in this country, improve support services and the quality of lives for people living with HIV/AIDS," added Hill.
Many elected officials provided critical leadership on the National AIDS Strategy appropriation. Senator Richard Durban, Rep. James Moran, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Rep. Henry Waxman were among those who spearheaded the effort. Other Members who made the appropriation possible include Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Chuck Schumer, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Joseph Serrano and Rep. Maxine Waters.
CONTACT: Diego Sanchez of AIDS Action, +1-617-835-1455, +1-617-450-1524, email@example.com, or Krishna Stone, +1-212-367-1016, KrishnaS@GMHC.org, for AIDS Action
SOURCE AIDS Action