|Congresswoman was instrumental in passing legislation in 1996 which designated the San Francisco AIDS Grove as the country’s first National AIDS Memorial. She commemorated her 20 years of service in congress at the National AIDS Memorial in 2007.|
Fighting HIV/AIDS across the nation and around the world has been a personal priority of mine since my first day in office. One of my first legislative victories was assisting in the creation of the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program. As Leader of the House of Representatives, I promise to ensure that HIV/AIDS care, treatment, prevention, and research initiatives receive additional funding increases, and continue fighting to expand access to care as part of comprehensive health reform. During these challenging economic times we must ensure that critical progress on HIV treatment and prevention does not stall or fall backward due to lack of funding.
Recently, we have made great strides in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic: preventing the spread of HIV by lifting the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange, fighting discrimination by lifting the travel ban for people with HIV/AIDS and ensuring scientifically-proven sex-ed by eliminating discretionary funding for ineffective abstinence-only education.
San Francisco developed the model of community-based care that served as the basis for the original Ryan White CARE Act, and our needs are still severe. This Congress, we were able to reauthorize the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act. In addition, I fought to prevent drastic cuts in care and treatment funds for San Francisco - restoring nearly $17 million from previous cuts to San Francisco’s systems of care that people living with HIV/AIDS rely upon for access to medications and primary medical care.
During my Speakership, discretionary funding for HIV/AIDS was increased by over $500 million. Additionally, the passage of comprehensive health reform will provide significant benefits for those with HIV/AIDS by dramatically increasing access to Medicaid for people with HIV, improving Medicare Part D for people participating in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and ending annual and lifetime caps on health benefits.
AIDS continues to be the City’s leading cause of premature death for men and nearly 16,000 San Franciscans are currently living with HIV/AIDS – more than at any point in the history of the epidemic. We cannot stop working until all those living with AIDS have the resources and support they need and young people are receiving the information necessary to protect them from infection.
Globally, thirty-three million are HIV-positive. Each and every day, another 7,400 people become infected with HIV. There is a moral imperative to combat this epidemic. The need for stronger U.S. leadership and a sustained commitment from the international community is clear. In 2008 , Congress passed America's largest commitment ever to fighting the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Lantos-Hyde U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. In the first five years of the U.S. response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, U.S. policy was driven by the urgency of an emergency response. Under this bill, the U.S. will develop and implement strategies to transition from the emergency phase to long-term sustainability that can be maintained by the host countries.