Advocacy groups are applauding President Barack Obama’s recently unveiled budget for sparing funding to HIV/AIDS organizations, according to a report released last week by the Black AIDS Institute.
The California-based think tank acknowledged that the budget outline submitted by the president retains the administration’s steadfast commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS, which hits the African-American and Latino communities the hardest.
In a statement to the press, Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of the AIDS Institute, said, “President Obama and his administration recognize the importance of the federal government’s role in addressing infectious diseases, such as HIV and the need to provide care to people living with HIV/AIDS.”
Under the preliminary budget outline by the president, funding to the Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) would increase by about $47 million to a whopping $943 million during the next fiscal year. Proponents of the measure said the sizable increase is significant because in recent years, states have struggled to keep up with the number of low-income families needing HIV/AIDS drug treatment regimens. Additionally, HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment initiatives have been targeted under the new budget, with about $13 million in federal dollars slated to go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The CDC is launching a high-impact community drive plan that will link newly diagnosed HIV patients to care and treatment facilities.
“People living with the virus now have more opportunities for care and treatment than ever before,” said Waheedah Shabazz-El, a 60-year-old Muslim, mother and grandmother in Philadelphia, who has been living with HIV for 10 years.
The Black AIDS Institute is the nation’s only HIV/AIDS think tank devoted to the needs of African-Americans living with the virus. Headed by longtime activist Phill Wilson, the organization has championed dozens of initiatives over the years. To view a more detailed outline of funding plans for HIV/AIDS, visit www.blackaids.org.