Butterfield Applauds Passage of Ryan White Act
Washington, D.C. – Congressman G. K. Butterfield applauded today’s passage of a bipartisan bill aimed at combating HIV/AIDS.
“This will help provide medical care, treatment and other critical services that people living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina so desperately need,” Butterfield said. “Unfortunately, eastern North Carolina continues to be particularly hard hit by HIV/AIDS.”
The House approved the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act by a vote of 408 to 9. The bill would reauthorize the Ryan White program for four years. Responding to growing needs, the bill increases funding by 5 percent annually authorizing a total of $2.55 billion in FY 2010; $2.68 billion in FY 2011; $2.81 billion in FY 2012; and $2.95 billion in FY 2013. Ryan White programs received $2.213 billion in FY2009.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program makes federal funds available to metropolitan areas and states to assist in health care costs and support services for individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
“The programs have proven successful in treating those infected with HIV/AIDS and in stemming the spread of the disease,” Butterfield said. “Thankfully the stigma of AIDS has been dramatically reduced, and an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.”
The Ryan White program currently serves more than half a million low-income people with HIV/AIDS in the United States; 33% of those served are uninsured, and an additional 56% are underinsured.
In FY 2009, North Carolina received more than $29.5 million through the program. Additionally, HIV/AIDS programs in Wilson ($590,000), Henderson ($341,000) and at East Carolina University ($839,000) were also funded in FY 2009.
Butterfield said that the figures compiled by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services indicate the enormous impact the infection continues to have on in eastern North Carolina. In eastern North Carolina, the HIV/AIDS rate is highest in Edgecombe County with 252 cases among 54,129 residents (465.6 cases for every 100,000 people).
And, between 2005 and 2007 the average rate of diagnosed HIV disease across the state was 20.1 per 100,000 people. During that time, the counties with the highest average of HIV cases diagnosed in North Carolina were: Mecklenburg (41.8 per 100,000), Edgecombe (40.2 per 100,000), Durham (34.7 per 100,000), Washington (33.3 per 100,000) and Lenoir County (33.3 per 100,000). Butterfield represents Edgecombe, Washington and Lenoir counties.
Among the HIV disease cases diagnosed in 2007, African Americans represented 62% of all cases with a rate of 79.5 per 100,000 people. And, the highest rate (113.6 per 100,000) was among African American males.
The legislation was originally approved by Congress and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. The legislation is named in honor of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a tainted hemophilia treatment in 1984, and was expelled from school because of the disease. White became a well-known advocate for AIDS research and awareness, until his death on April 8, 1990.
The bill was approved by the Senate on October 19, 2009 and will now be sent to President Obama to be signed into law.