Lawmakers urge Administration to boost ADAP spending
Several U.S. representatives this week wrote to Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson, urging the Administration to boost spending for the nation's AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, which provide free or low-cost antiretroviral medications to low-income HIV-positive people. Among those signing the letter were House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Democratic whip Stony Hoyer (Md.), openly gay lawmakers Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and four others. The lawmakers say that since they last wrote Thompson in February to call for increased ADAP spending, "the number of Americans waiting for life-saving HIV/AIDS treatment has increased by 50%." The lawmakers also point out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent emphasis in promoting HIV testing to identify the estimated 300,000 people who are unaware they're infected with the virus will add more people to the already cash-strapped ADAPs. "Significant new funding for Ryan White Care Act programs is essential," they write. "We urge you to pay attention to this growing crisis and propose a strategy to address it."