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May 26, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 21
 
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Seattle to lose up to 10 percent of federal funding for HIV/AIDS services
Seattle to lose up to 10 percent of federal funding for HIV/AIDS services
"The administration proposes testing every citizen for HIV but then cuts support for HIV/AIDS program. It sends a mixed message on our country's health care priorities," said Lifelong's Executive Director Tina Podlodowski.

Lifelong AIDS Alliance announced its disagreement with the United States Congress over their failure to adequately meet the needs of American citizens living with HIV/AIDS. On May 17, 2006, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) approved legislation to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act (RWCA). The RWCA is the dedicated federal source of support for HIV/AIDS care in the United States.

The proposed funding levels are inadequate to address the growing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in Seattle/King County and Washington State. Restrictions placed on spending in the proposed legislation are unnecessary and could deeply harm systems of care which have been proven effective in Seattle/King County and Washington State.

"Simply put, the proposed funding levels are inadequate to provide care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS in Washington State," said executive director Tina Podlodowski. "People are living longer with HIV/AIDS which significantly increases the need for adequate care and treatment. Congress has failed to realize that need."

The RWCA includes a new tiered funding structure that is considerably more complex than current system, and places the Seattle region in position to receive up to 10% less funding than in the current year. The Seattle region over the past five years has been forced to balance a steadily increasing number of AIDS cases with diminishing federal support. Such a drastic cut would be devastating to the care and treatment infrastructure of Seattle.

Congress is mandating that 75% of CARE Act funding go to "core medical services." However, much of the success of Ryan White in Washington State is based on care services such as case management, medical nutrition counseling, food and grocery services, and emergency housing support. It is important to allow states to make their own determinations about what services are most effective in helping people with HIV/AIDS live longer and healthier lives.

Further, due to the CDC issued recommendation routine testing more people will be in need of care and treatment. Funding levels are too low for the current and future number of AIDS cases.

"It seems that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing," said Podlodowski. "The administration proposes testing every citizen for HIV but then cuts support for HIV/AIDS program. It sends a mixed message on our country's health care priorities."

Lifelong AIDS Alliance urges Congress to reauthorize a CARE Act that will adequately fund the current care and treatment system and allow states to make their own determinations about what services are core to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Lifelong AIDS Alliance provides food, housing and health insurance to people living with HIV/AIDS in King County. Lifelong also provides prevention education and is a leader in local, regional and national advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS. Over 85% of Lifelong AIDS Alliance's clients live on less than $15,000 per year. Lifelong AIDS Alliance is the leading AIDS service organization in the Pacific Northwest and is recognized nationally for its innovative work.



A Lifelong AIDS Alliance press release

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