Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the U.S. Senate has passed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, which provides critical health care and related services to uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS.
This legislation reauthorizes all parts of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and appropriations, and supports continued funding of the Minority AIDS Initiative which addresses the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on racial and ethnic minorities. In recognition of the growing prevalence of HIV/AIDS outside of major urban areas with longstanding epidemics, it is important that the Ryan White program evolve and move towards determining funding allocations based on valid, reliable HIV surveillance data. The legislation also supports continuing assistance to Emerging Metropolitan Areas, including New York City, and Transitional Grant Areas, including Nassau-Suffolk and Dutchess Counties.
“The Ryan White Program has been an essential resource for those living with HIV/AIDS, and now with this multi-year extension, thankfully, it will continue to be,” Schumer said. “With tremendous progress in HIV/AIDS medicine and awareness, there should not be a barrier to proper care and treatment. The reauthorization of this program will help ensure that New York families, government, and community organizations receive support to care for those living with HIV/AIDS.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, The Ryan White CARE Act is the single largest federal grant program designated specifically for HIV/AIDS. First enacted in 1990, it provides care and support services to individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Functioning as the “payer of last resort,” it fills gaps in care for those who have no other source of coverage or face coverage limits. Federal Ryan White funding is provided to cities, states, and directly to providers and other organizations. The program was previously reauthorized in 1996 and 2000, and 2006.
As the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. has grown over time, Ryan White has played an increasingly critical role. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the program is estimated to reach more than half a million people each year. It is the third largest source of public financing for HIV/AIDS care in the United States, after Medicaid and Medicare. Some states and localities also provide funding for Ryan White services.
The Ryan White Program is comprised of several parts through which funds are provided across the country. The types of entities eligible for federal Ryan White funds vary by part, and include states, cities, directly-funded public and private providers, and other organizations. Most funding is provided to states and cities, with the remainder directly to organizations. Much of the funding provided to states and cities is in turn channeled to local providers as well. Community-based organizations make up the largest single group of Ryan White-funded entities serving clients.
According to New York State Department of Heath, as of December 2007, the following numbers of people were living with HIV or AIDS in the New York City area:
New York County
Living with HIV: 12,471
Living with AIDS: 18,385
Living With HIV and Aids: 30,856
Living with HIV: 9,180
Living with AIDS: 15,387
Living With HIV and Aids: 24,567
Living with HIV: 5,105
Living with AIDS: 9,020
Living With HIV and Aids: 14,125
Living with HIV: 8,166
Living with AIDS: 13,157
Living With HIV and Aids: 21,323
Living with HIV: 718
Living with AIDS: 1,080
Living With HIV and Aids: 1,798
Living with HIV: 951
Living with AIDS: 1,781
Living With HIV and Aids: 2,732
Living with HIV: 1,028
Living with AIDS: 1,781
Living With HIV and Aids: 2,809
Schumer added, “This legislation gives essential support to HIV/AIDS care that will allow increased access to treatment and services for those in New York City and across the country.”