Ryan White AIDS Program Reauthorization Update

By Katie Coester | August 17, 2012

U.S. Capitol

EGPAF

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the largest federal government program designed to provide care, treatment and various support services to individuals affected by HIV and AIDS in the United States.

Next year, the Ryan White CARE Act—the legislation that authorizes funding for the various Ryan White Programs—is up for Congressional reauthorization (or renewal).

In advance of the upcoming Congressional review, the Heath Services Resource Administration (HRSA)— the government agency that oversees programs under the Ryan White CARE Act—asked HIV/AIDS stakeholders to weigh in and let the agency know stakeholders thoughts of the current program and what (if any) changes should be made as the program evolves.

EGPAF along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the AIDS Alliance for Children Youth and Families (AIDS Alliance) submitted joint comments to HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield highlighting issues specifically around the unique prevention, care and treatment needs of women, children, youth and families in the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The Ryan White programs have been hugely successful, and we are in jeopardy of losing the amazing gains we have made in serving vulnerable women, children and youth if we do not keep them in the forefront of HIV policy discussions. But we also need to ensure that these programs adapt to reflect shifts in U.S. epidemic and changes in the way people access medical services as a result of the new health care reform laws.

EGPAF has been an advocate for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program since their inception, and our commitment to helping HIV-positive women, children and families in the United States continues today. The comments include the perspective of Dr. Seble Kassaye, Senior Medical Research Officer at EGPAF, as well as practitioner at a clinic in Washington D.C. that receives funding through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. Dr. Kassaye has seen firsthand the positive impact of the program, providing a safety net for individuals who would otherwise not be able to afford HIV care and treatment.

Stay tuned for more information as the reauthorization process continues.

Katie Coester is Public Policy Officer for the Foundation in Washington, D.C.