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Congress Enacts AIDS Bill to Test 5 Million; AHF Urges President Obama to Act Swiftly

House and Senate Pass Bill Placing Greater Focus on Finding Undiagnosed HIV Positive Individuals; Largest Global AIDS Organization Lauds Congress for Updating Ryan White CARE Act to Prioritize Testing and Maintain a Focus on Medical Care While Cutting Bureaucracy

Washington, DC - October 21, 2009 - AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization which provides services to more than 129,000 people in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, today commended Congress for its passage of the Ryan White CARE Act (RWCA, or the CARE Act), the federal law that provides the primary source of funding for AIDS care and services nationwide. The bill cleared the Senate on Monday by unanimous consent and passed the House earlier today by a 408 to 9 vote.

"We thank Congress for updating and renewing the lifesaving Ryan White CARE Act, legislation which now places a much greater focus on finding undiagnosed HIV positive individuals and linking them to care and treatment," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "In order to successfully treat any disease, you first need to know who has it. This bill quite sensibly calls for five million HIV tests annually nationwide and will incentivize and recognize those areas of the country which demonstrate success at finding those so-called 'unawares'-people who are infected but do not know it. More than one-quarter of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS currently fall into this category, and identifying and linking them into care should go a long way to help break the chain of new infections. We urge President Obama to swiftly sign this bill into law, and for his Administration to follow through to ensure these new lifesaving provisions in the CARE Act actually get put into practice nationwide."

In addition to the provisions calling for five million HIV tests annually and a newfound emphasis on finding 'unawares,' the bill maintains a requirement enacted in the 2006 version of the law which requires that, ".75% of funds be spent on core medical services."

"Today in the U.S., HIV/AIDS can be a chronic and treatable medical condition. Through this legislation, funding will now be targeted to where the greatest needs are-testing and treatment," added AHF's Weinstein.

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About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the US' largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 80,000 individuals in 22 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org

Contacts:
Ged Kenslea,
Communications Director
Tel: (323) 860-5225
Fax: (323) 468-0400
gedk@aidshealth.org

Lori Yeghiayan,
Associate Director of Communications
Tel:(323) 860-5227
Fax:(323)468-0400
lori.yeghiayan@aidshealth.org

Source: AIDS Heathcare Foundation
http://www.aidshealth.org/news/press-releases/congress-enacts-aids-bill-to.html


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