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Congress this week is set to adjourn for the year without having taken any action to reauthorize the Ryan White Act, which provides AIDS services to low-income HIV-positive Americans, despite the act's having expired at the end of September, the Ryan White Action Campaign reports. The campaign is urging both Democrats and Republicans to make reauthorization a priority when Congress reconvenes in 2006.
"The president unambiguously called for the reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act at his State of the Union address in the early part of 2005 and repeated this call once again on World AIDS Day, more than 10 months later," says Howard A. Grossman, executive director of the American Academy of HIV Medicine, in a press release. "Given a full year to reenact the legislation and to fix the deficiencies in the current program, Congress will adjourn this week leaving the law outdated and untouched. Things don't simply happen in Congress; there are agendas and priorities set forth by the leadership, and the lack of action by this Congress reveals, unfortunately, that HIV is not the priority we had hoped it would be."
The campaign also is urging lawmakers to boost funding for key components of the Ryan White Act--particularly the state-run AIDS Drug Assistance Programs that provide lifesaving medications to low-income HIVers--and to ensure that all HIV-positive Americans have access to adequate care and support services.
The Ryan White Action Campaign is a nationwide coalition of medical providers and AIDS advocacy and service organizations. For more information about the campaign or the Ryan White reauthorization process, go online to www.ryanwhiteaction.org. (Advocate.com)