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AIDS Czar Hails Senate Committee’s Unanimous Passage of Landmark
Ryan White CARE Act to Provide Medical Care to People with AIDS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: (202) 456-2437
April 12, 2000

Calling it a “clear victory for people living with HIV/AIDS,” Sandra Thurman, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy praised the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension’s unanimous approval of legislation reauthorizing the Ryan White Care Act – the nation’s leading source of care and treatment for individuals living with AIDS. Thurman thanked the Senate leadership in both parties and all Senators “for recognizing the importance of the CARE Act in helping people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. The Senate has shown that it understands that the CARE Act not only provides care and treatment to America’s most vulnerable populations, but does so in a manner that is both compassionate and cost effective.”

“We look forward to working with the full Senate to ensure quick passage of this legislation,” Thurman said.

As a result of the CARE Act program. Thurman said, “in 1999 alone, more than 100,000 Americans living with HIV/AIDS were able to receive treatment therapies to prevent HIV-related illnesses. Most of these individuals had incomes of less than $10,000 annually and could not otherwise afford the new drug “cocktails,” which cost more than $12,000 annually.” Director Thurman said “we know that CARE Act programs work and work well,” and that “they are vital to ensuring both access and adherence to these complex drug regimens. The CARE Act provides a comprehensive package of essential services -- with impressive results.”

In calling for the Senate to act quickly on reauthorization, Director Thurman highlighted the fact that the CARE Act has helped to:

  • reduce both the frequency and length of expensive in-patient hospitalizations by at least 30%;
  • reduce AIDS mortality by 70%;
  • reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 75%; and
  • enhance both the length and quality of life for people living with AIDS.

Director Thurman cautioned those who hear of the success of new treatments in helping decrease the number of AIDS related deaths over the last few years. “While deaths are down overall, the trend is not the same for all groups of individuals. As fewer people die from AIDS, we will have more people living with HIV.” We also continue to have some 40,000 new infections every year in America, half of which are in young people under the age of 25. We must not let the good news breed complacency. This epidemic is far from over,” she said.

Director Thurman asked the Senate to focus on the half-million people living with HIV and AIDS who received services through the Ryan White CARE Act, and to remember the lives of millions more affected by AIDS. She stressed that nearly 6 in 10 were poor, they were five times as likely to be uninsured than those receiving care elsewhere, nearly three times more likely to be African American, and 50% more likely to be women.




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