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Action Alert
Support Full HIV AIDS Funding

Today we pray for all people who are living with HIV. We remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. We give thanks for the progress that has been made; and ask God to give us strength and courage to stand up together to eliminate AIDS as a public health threat.  On Faith HIV AIDS Awareness Day, take a moment to review the PCUSA Social Witness Policy “Becoming an HIV AIDS Competent Church.” Then help us raise our collective voice and demand that Congress do its job and act to adequately fund domestic HIV programs.

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $156 billion Labor-HHS-Education spending bill for fiscal 2018 that is slightly more generous than President Trump’s “Skinny Budget” but provides $5 billion less than the current FY 2017 total funding. The bill maintains level funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and CDC HIV, hepatitis and STD Prevention programs. Unfortunately, the bill eliminates critical funding for the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund and cuts Minority Aids Initiative (MAI) funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) provides more than $50 million each year to support a wide range of activities that are designed to reduce new HIV infections, improve HIV-related health outcomes, and reduce HIV-related health disparities in racial and ethnic minority communities.

As people of color disproportionately suffer the brunt of the HIV epidemic in the United States, HIV is a racial justice issue as well as a public health issue. In 2010, African Americans accounted for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents despite representing only 12% of the national population. In 2009, Latinos accounted for 20% of new HIV infections while representing approximately 16% of the total population. At some point in their lifetimes, an estimated one in 16 black men and one in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV. For people of color living with HIV, racial discrimination diminishes the quality of medical care received. Discrimination and socio-economic factors linked to race create additional obstacles to accessing the quality health care, housing, and education necessary for HIV treatment and prevention.

It is absolutely critical as Presbyterians that we raise the alarm to renew SMAIF funding and fully fund HIV education and prevention programs at the Federal level.

Not only is our charge to care for the marginalized, but advocating as such fulfills in part our commitment to racial justice re-affirmed by the Belhar Confession.

 If you are attending the United States Conference on AIDS 2017 in Sept please connect George Kerr, Co Monitor for the Presbyterian AIDS Network (PAN) (PHEWA), PC USA to learn about a special event.  GKerr85@gmail.com or call (202) 838-7339.

 

 


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