February 12, 2009

February 12, 2009
Removal of $400 Million From Funding

Welcome to another day in my life and I have been feeling under the weather today. I think between the hours, stress and other situations going on right now, my system is a little worn down. Problem is the next six weeks are already full of events. But as least I am alive and doing what I enjoy doing. I know how many are not.

On February 7, 2009, health care organizations, providers and advocates, as well as the millions of those affected, will commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year, the theme is Black Life is Worth Saving.

The sad irony, however, is that the removal of $400 million for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases from the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act sends quite the opposite message.

“We should not cut funding for HIV/AIDS services when the AIDS virus is spreading faster than previously thought, and minority communities are continuing to suffer. As local sources of funding dry up, communities need assistance to reach people who are at risk of HIV/AIDS, make HIV testing available, and provide life-saving treatment to those who need it,” noted Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Co-Chair of the CBC HIV/AIDS Task Force. “Without these services, the AIDS virus could spread even more quickly as the economy deteriorates.”

Studies confirm that HIV and STD infections are fueled by the poor social and economic conditions in which many African Americans struggle to survive. Putting disease prevention into a package that begins to address the social determinants of our health finally puts our country on the right path to resolving the looming healthcare crisis – a crisis which is affecting us all, but which has a disproportionate and detrimental impact on people of color.

“Because we are disproportionately more likely to experience health inequities across the entire health care continuum, the African-American community ought to be outraged by the removal of any health provision from legislation that is aimed at getting this nation back on track,” observed Congresswoman Donna Christensen, Chair of the CBC Health Braintrust.

“However, that this needed investment of $400 million was stripped from the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other STDs is nothing short of outrageous when African Americans currently account for nearly 50% of all AIDS cases and new HIV infections, and more than half of all AIDS-related deaths. Additionally, across all reported cases of STDs, African Americans are consistently over represented among those affected.”

“The HIV/AIDS Community sent a rallying cry to our offices to ensure that this desperately needed assistance was included in the stimulus.” stated Congressman 2 Gregory W. Meeks, co-Chair of the CBC HIV/AIDS Task Force, “Black Americans have always been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and the disparity has deepened with Blacks accounting for almost half of all new cases. This prevention funding is critical to the health and well-being of the country and will save countless federal health dollars in the long run. It must be reinstated. ”

“Because we care about the health of our nation, seek to achieve equity and justice in healthcare, and give our community – and every other community in the country – a chance for wellness, we will launch aggressive efforts to restore this critically important provision,” concluded Congresswoman Christensen.

So let us not forget how important contacting your political representatives is. While they may not talk to you personally, your calls are locked and reported by subject matter.

Let your voice be heard.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab