My commentary of this press released that I received via email today will be in this font as I mostly copy and pasted from the email itself. Over the past several months, there has been heavy concern and prayer regarding federal funding all across the board for non-profit organizations, all the way up to agencies that heavily rely on federal funding. People have been asked to contact their local legislators to speak on their behalf regarding these concerns and evidently, the people have been heard! As of today, the HIV/AIDS funding has been increased for the fiscal year of 2010. This strengthens my hope that interventions will increase as newly infected cases will decrease. The press release goes as follows:
The Obama administration released details about HIV/AIDS funding in the FY2010 budget. During a conference call in which the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) participated, White House Officials noted that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget will be $78.4 billion a $2.6 billion increase from last year.
The National Minority AIDS Council hosts the United States Conference on AIDS every year. I have had the honor of participating on a small scale as a panelist. Over the past twenty years, NMAC has played a pivitol role in addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS by designing and implementing programs and initiatives to address communities of color.
“This is a great time for the HIV/AIDS movement, with the epidemic once again becoming a priority in the government’s agenda,” said Paul Kawata, Executive Director of NMAC. “We are moving toward a national health strategy that will address the funding necessary to target the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other health disparities in the U.S. ”
The $78.4 billion will breakdown as follows: $53 million will be geared to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) HIV budget, including HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, linkages to services, increasing capacity, and health department monitoring; $54 million will be directed to the Ryan White Care Act; HOPWA will have a modest increase; and abstinence-only budgets will be 75% reallocated into comprehensive, evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention education and 25% geared to fund new HIV/AIDS interventions. In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will receive $443 million increase in funding, where $6 billion will be for cancer research over eight years.
I am even more excited regarding the abstinence only budget being reallocated. I hope that it takes shape as abstinence only programs across the state of Florida haven't made much of a difference with the rates of teen pregnancy remaining the same or increasing. The point of implementing programs like this in my opinion is to decrease a statistic. I am a firm believer in abstinence-only; however if it's not reinforced in a teen's community or especially at home, it is totally ineffective. With that being said, implementing a comprehensive health education along with encouraging the benefits of exploring abstinence will probably go a LONG way. Of course, this is my humble opinion. I'm just glad it's being recognized on a national level.
“This budget will significantly increase prevention efforts to address the staggering rate of new HIV cases that take place annually in the U.S., which is most welcome considering the frightening spike in HIV/AIDS rates throughout our country, especially among people of color and our nation’s capital”, said Ravinia Hayes-Cozier, NMAC’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy Division. “Although the ban on funding for syringe exchange will not be lifted, we will continue our intensive advocacy work for it. Also, funding to support getting people into care is crucial to the success of a National AIDS Strategy, where the lack of access to HIV/AIDS treatment and care has been a continuous concern since the epidemic began.”
I am a little upset with the ban on syringe exchange not being lifted. Logic tells most HIV/AIDS prevention and outreach workers that most needle drug users won't take the time to stop and clean their works and needles (cotton, cooker, spoon, etc.) as they properly should when
using drugs. Yet, I believe as most of the people who work in the HIV/AIDS field do, that if a needle exchange program is implemented, it will greatly decrease the number if HIV transmission and infection to new users. Some feel that it only encourages people to continue using their drugs but I have learned that when dealing with HIV/AIDS prevention and getting someone's attention who is high risk, you have to bring your prevention skills to a level where they will give a damn. If you come at a person who shoots up every day and simply tell them that the only way they can prevent contracting or transmitting HIV is for them to stop... they are going to give you the what-the-hell-ever face. But if you approach them with compassion for their addiction (not judgement, ridicule and disdain) and let them know that while they are struggling, they still have a way to protect themselves, then they will listen. Some adhere to cleaning their works and needles, others would prefer a place to take their used needles/syringes in exchange for a sterilized one. It's not a "COME GET FREE WORK SUPPLIES HERE" stand as some people are led to think. But I can go on and on about this particular facet in the fight on HIV/AIDS. Feel free to read more at your convenience on these links provided:
(As of May 06, there were 186 Needle Exchange Programs running in 36 states as well as D.C., Puerto Rico and Native American islands.)
The HHS budget justifications will be publicly available within the next few days and include more details.
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) has advanced its mission, “to develop leadership within communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS” since 1987 through individualized capacity building assistance, technical assistance trainings, public policy education programs; national and regional conferences; treatment and research education programs; online and printed resource materials; and a website: http://www.nmac.org/. The agency also serves as a membership association for its constituents AIDS service organizations and minority faith- and community-based organizations delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color and advocates on their behalf in Washington , DC . NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. For more information, please contact NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may find us online at http://www.nmac,org/, as well as on Facebook.com, Wikipedia.com, Twitter.com, MyPhotoAlbum.com and YouTube.com.
About NMAC in Action
Much of the information distributed through the NMAC in Action and on the NMAC website is drawn from secondary sources. It is not meant to constitute or convey medical advice or diagnostic information. People living with HIV/AIDS should share information of interest with their primary care provider before making treatment choices. The presence of the name or image of any person on the NMAC website, or within this message, should not be construed as an indication of their HIV status, unless specifically stated.
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) has responded to the needs of communities of color by developing programs aimed at enhancing the skills necessary to confront this health crisis, including a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program and numerous publications. Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS service organizations providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. For more information, call: (202) 234-5120; e-mail: email@example.com; or visit: http://www.nmac.org/.