Table of Contents
Providing National Leadership. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked hard to invigorate the response to HIV and AIDS, providing new national leadership, substantially greater resources and a closer working relationship with affected communities. During their Administration, funding for AIDS research has increased by over 89 percent at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), while funding for HIV prevention has increased 47 percent. Funding for the Ryan White CARE Act has increased by over 338 percent.
Although much work remains to find a cure, progress has been made. In 1996, for the first time in the history of the AIDS epidemic, the number of Americans diagnosed with AIDS declined. And between 1996 and 1997, HIV/AIDS mortality declined 42 percent, falling from the leading cause of death among 25-44 year olds in 1995 to the fifth leading cause of death in that age group. There has been a decline in the number of AIDS cases overall and a sharp decline in new AIDS cases in infants and children.
Leading the Global Fight Against HIV/AIDS. In July, 1999, the Administration announced a new global AIDS initiative entitled LIFE (Leadership and Investment in Fighting and Epidemic). The cornerstone of the initiative is a $100 million increase in US support for global AIDS efforts, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. The United States has invested over $1 billion in international AIDS relief since the start of the epidemic and funds 25% of UNAIDS. NIH represents the largest single public investment in AIDS research in the world. More than $62 million of NIH's international AIDS research in FY1999 is being conducted overseas in partnership with the global scientific community.
Historic Effort to Address HIV/AIDS in Communities of Color. While racial and ethnic groups account only for about 25 percent of the U.S. population, they account for more than 50 percent of all AIDS cases. On October 28, 1998, President Clinton declared HIV/AIDS to be a severe and ongoing health crisis in racial and ethnic minority communities and announced a comprehensive new initiative that invests an unprecedented $156 million to improve the nation's effectiveness in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS in the African-American, Hispanic, and other minority communities. Funding levels for Fiscal Year 2000 were increased to over $245 million.
This funding is spread across three broad categories: technical assistance and infrastructure support; increasing access to prevention and care, and building stronger linkages to address the needs of specific populations.
Fighting to Pass a Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. President Clinton has called on the Congress to pass a strong, enforceable patients' bill of rights that assures Americans the quality health care they need. The bill should include important patient protections such as: assuring direct access to specialists; real emergency room protections; continuity of care provisions that protect patients from abrupt changes in treatment; a fair, timely, and independent appeals process for patient grievances; and enforcement provisions to make these rights real.
Protecting Medicaid and Social Security. The President fought for and won the preservation of the Medicaid guarantee of coverage which serves more than 50 percent of people living with AIDS -- and 92 percent of children with AIDS -- who rely on Medicaid for health coverage. He also revised eligibility rules for Social Security Disability Insurance to increase the number persons living with HIV who qualify for benefits.
Focusing National Efforts on an AIDS Vaccine. On May 18, 1997, the President challenged the nation to develop an AIDS vaccine within the next ten years. He announced a number of initiatives to help fulfill this goal, including: dedicating an AIDS vaccine research center at the National Institutes of Health and encouraging domestic and international collaboration among governments, medical communities and service organizations. On June 9, 1999, President Clinton dedicated the new Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health and announced that the primary work of this new Center will be HIV vaccine research.
Dramatically Increasing Overall AIDS Funding. The Clinton/Gore Administration has responded aggressively to the significant threat posed by HIV/AIDS with increased attention to research, prevention and treatment. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have increased overall funding for major HIV/AIDS programs by 121 percent (within HHS), funding for the Ryan White CARE programs has increased 338 percent and support for AIDS-related research has increased by over 89 percent.
Increasing AIDS Drug Assistance and Accelerating AIDS Drug Approvals. Funding for AIDS drug assistance has increased from $52 million per year to $528 million per year during the Clinton/Gore Administration. This program provides new life-prolonging drugs to people with HIV and AIDS. In addition, President Clinton and Vice President Gore convened the National Task Force on AIDS Drug Development, and removed dozens of bureaucratic obstacles to the effective and decent treatment of people with AIDS. Since 1993, the Food and Drug Administration has approved dozens of new AIDS drugs for AIDS-related conditions and new diagnostic tests.
Making Research a Priority. In one of his first acts in office, President Clinton signed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993, placing full responsibility for planning, budgeting, and evaluation of the AIDS research program at NIH in the Office of AIDS Research. The President requested and received the first federal plan for biomedical research on AIDS. The Clinton/Gore Administration has increased NIH AIDS research funds by 89% to over $2 billion.
Focusing on Prevention: Supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Administration has increased funds for HIV prevention at the CDC by 47%. Under the leadership of the Clinton/Gore Administration, the CDC reorganized its AIDS prevention efforts to foster greater overall coordination and enhance efforts to reduce sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.
Educating Young People about the Dangers of AIDS. The Clinton/Gore Administration launched the Prevention Marketing Initiative, focusing on the risk to young adults (18-25) with frank public service announcements recommending the correct and consistent use of latex condoms for those who are sexually active.
Established a White House AIDS Office and Created a Presidential Advisory Council. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created a White House Office of National AIDS Policy to bring greater direction and visibility to the war on AIDS. Sandy Thurman, the current director of the office, has broad experience in both domestic and international AIDS services. At the same time, the Administration has sharpened the focus of its AIDS programs. The President and Vice President also created the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS to provide him and his Administration with expert outside advice on the ways in which the Federal government should respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dr. R. Scott Hitt, a California physician specializing in HIV/AIDS care, chairs the panel.
Convened the First Ever White House Conference on HIV and AIDS. On December 6, 1995, the President and Vice President convened the first White House Conference on HIV and AIDS in the history of the epidemic, bringing together more than 300 experts, activists and citizens from across the country for a discussion of key issues.
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