Date: Friday, Aug. 7, 1998 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: HRSA Press Office (301) 443-3376
HHS ANNOUNCES $17.5 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR HIV/AIDS CARE
HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced $17.5 million in health care and dental care grants through the Ryan White CARE Act targeted to women, children, youth and families and others living with HIV/AIDS. The new grants directly address HIV/AIDS in underserved areas and racial and ethnic minority communities, providing critical health and dental services, support services and access to research opportunities.
The awards are funded under Title IV of the Ryan White CARE (Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency) Act, the Coordinated Care and Access to Research for Children, Women, Youth and Families program ($10.2 million); and Part F of the Act, the HIV/AIDS Dental Reimbursement Program ($7.3 million). They bring to 49 the number of projects funded under Title IV. The Part F program funded dental care for 69,000 patients in 1997, covering about 47 percent of the unreimbursed costs of this care.
"The awards we announce today are a critical component of our targeted assistance designed specifically to serve our most vulnerable citizens and communities, particularly women, youth, and families in minority communities in both urban and rural settings," said Secretary Shalala. "These funds help ensure that low-income uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS have access to high quality care."
Racial and ethnic minorities together account for more than 54 percent of the total AIDS cases reported since the beginning of the epidemic.
In 1997, the fastest growing proportion of new AIDS cases was reported among women of color. African American and Latina women accounted for 80 percent of new AIDS cases reported among women. Sixty three percent of new AIDS cases among children under 13 are among African Americans, and 23 percent are among Hispanics.
"The AIDS epidemic is increasingly becoming a disease of people of color, of the young, of minorities -- people who often do not have access to quality care and treatment," said Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher.
"Improving access to HIV/AIDS care is essential and a key objective of the Ryan White CARE Act programs," said Claude Earl Fox, M.D., Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, the HHS agency that oversees the CARE Act. Nearly 80 percent of clients served through the Title IV program in 1996 were from racial and ethnic minorities.
The Department has been working within its HIV/AIDS programs to develop a focused response to the changing demographics of the epidemic and the special concerns which these changes present. Last February, President Clinton announced a six-point initiative to help close the health gap between racial and ethnic minorities and non-minority Americans. The initiative includes a specific focus on HIV/AIDS.
In addition, HHS has been working with the Congressional Black Caucus to expand its ongoing dialogue with minority community leaders, community representatives and AIDS activists to develop a sustained and coordinated strategy to respond to the severe and ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis in communities of color. Particular issues of concern have been the need to mobilize effective prevention efforts in minority communities and bring about equal benefits for minority populations from available therapies. HHS is developing a set of immediate strategic responses to support essential infrastructure capacity within these communities.
Today's awards are among many designed to increase the availability of prevention and treatment services, support community-based outreach and infrastructure, and expand research opportunities in racial and ethnic minority communities. In addition to resources in FY 98, the Department is committed to sustaining and expanding this investment in future years.
In recognition of the important role played by community based organizations and religious and faith institutions in preventing HIV/AIDS and providing vital support services, the Department will be investing an additional $375,000 in FY 98 in technical assistance resources to enable these communities to better respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis. These include partnerships with the National Minority AIDS Council and the Congress of National Black Churches:
- A $225,000 initiative with the Congress of National Black Churches to mobilize a variety of HIV/AIDS education and outreach projects through black churches. The Department's Office of Minority Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the NIH Office of Research on Minority Health are collaborating on this project;
- An additional $100,000 from HRSA to the National Minority AIDS Council, as part of an existing agreement, for technical assistance to minority community-based organizations so that they can better compete for government dollars to serve people with HIV/AIDS. This strategy is being developed through public and private sources;
- An investment of $50,000 from SAMHSA toward the development of a strategic plan that will guide coordination of HIV/AIDS activities with specific components geared to racial and ethnic minorities.