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HRSA Report Finds Federal HIV/AIDS Programs Slow Spread of Disease, Help People Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Date: August 23, 2004
Source: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Federal efforts are slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS and helping people with the disease live longer, according to a report released today during the 2004 Ryan White CARE Act Grantee Conference in Washington D.C.
In its biennial progress report, The AIDS Epidemic and the Ryan White CARE Act: Past Successes + Future Challenges, HHS¿ Health Resources and Services Administration found that ¿AIDS incidence and mortality have fallen among underinsured people because CARE Act-funded providers are very good at reaching populations historically underserved by the larger health care system, such as racial and ethnic minorities, who constituted about 65 percent of CARE Act clients in 2002.¿
¿We have learned much over the past 14 years about providing scientifically sound, yet compassionate care for those living with HIV/AIDS,¿ said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. ¿The findings of this report show that this Department is making a tremendous difference for the hundreds of thousands of Americans with HIV/AIDS.¿
HRSA, through its HIV/AIDS Bureau, administers the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act. It funds more than 2,700 providers across the country who care for more than half a million Americans living with HIV/AIDS who need care most¿the poor, uninsured and underserved.
According to the report, ¿in 2002, at least one of every two CARE Act clients lived below the federal poverty level; fewer than 1 in 10 had any private insurance; and only 29.7 percent were enrolled in Medicare.¿
A key finding in the report is that ¿More than two-thirds of all CARE Act funds were used for primary care and treatment in 2002. Almost 3 times more clients used primary care than the most often used support service.¿
¿We don¿t just care for the neediest people with HIV/AIDS in our society, we provide them with some of the best treatments available in America,¿ said HRSA Administrator Elizabeth M. Duke, Ph.D. ¿While we recognize significant challenges ahead, these funds and this care have had dramatic results in decreasing perinatal transmission and deaths due to AIDS.¿
Other key findings include:
- Almost one-third of CARE Act clients are age 45 or older;
- Some 46 percent of CARE Act clients are African American and nearly one-in-five (19.8 percent) clients are Hispanic;
- More than 31 percent of HIV-positive clients served by CARE Act-funded programs were female; and
- Two percent of CARE Act clients were children age 12 or younger.
While the report identified significant successes by the Ryan White CARE Act programs, it also identified some significant challenges, including:
- The capacity of providers working in underserved areas must be increased;
- Providers must adapt to an environment of few new resources, rising costs, and growing HIV/AIDS prevalence;
- The CARE Act community must ensure access to medication at the lowest possible price; and
- CARE Act providers must continue to prioritize funding of primary care services.
Since fiscal year 2001, the Bush administration has spent more than $7.7 billion in CARE Act funding to help people with HIV/AIDS access life-sustaining care and services each year. President Bush has requested nearly $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2005 for the CARE Act, an increase of more than $270 million since 2001.