Don't slash healthcare funding for HIV+ women, children, and families!
For decades, a federal funding program established through the Ryan White CARE Act has been a lifeline to millions of individuals living with HIV in America through its provision of medical care, prescription drug assistance, and supplementary programs to support improved health and overall quality of life. While all components of the Ryan White program are of immense value, one particular part of the program (referred to as Part D) has been of particular importance as it serves some of the most vulnerable populations living with and/or affected by HIV--women, infants, children, youth, teens, and their families/caregivers. Ryan White Part D receives significantly less funding than the other Ryan White programs. And yet, President Obama's proposed 2015 fiscal year budget proposes eliminating the Part D program and consolidating it with another part (Part C) of the funding. Part of the rationale for eliminating Part D is that 67% of Part D funded agencies also receive Part C, so presumably by consolidating the programs administrative costs will be reduced and presumably there will be more funds available. However, have been no guarantees made that ALL of the communities currently served by Ryan White Part D will survive this consolidation, only that they can "apply" to be a Part C grantee, with no promise that they will be selected. This uncertainty puts innumerable families across the country at risk. Lip service has been paid to the importance of securing the health and stability of the vulnerable populations served by the Part D program, but that has been eclipsed by actions which indicate otherwise. There is a community effort that is gaining momentum in an attempt to get the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reconsider this matter, involving a plethora of individuals, families, community advisory boards, policy advocates, and several prominent and grassroots organizations that work on behalf of HIV+ and affected women, children, youth, and families, including the AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth, and Families; the Positive Women’s Network; the National Black Women’s HIV/AIDS Network; Advocacy Without Borders; Positively U; the 30 for 30 Campaign; many Part D grantees, and others. But we need your help. We need to let HRSA and HHS -- and members of Congress as they debate the budget -- know that this program saves lives and needs continued support. Even if you do not have HIV and/or don’t know a soul who does, your signature will mean the world to women, children, and families dealing with HIV every day. Would you sign and share today? With gratitude, Morénike, Advocacy Without Borders
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