Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi


Pelosi on the AIDS Watch 10th Year Rally

May 8, 2001

Today at the AIDS Watch 10th Year Rally on the U.S. Capitol steps, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined Rep. Donna M. Christian-Christensen (D-VI), people living with HIV/AIDS, AIDS advocates, and providers to call for increased funding for AIDS programs.

The Bush Administration must make the fight against HIV/AIDS a top priority. Working with the Clinton Administration, we were able to increase our investments significantly in HIV/AIDS care, treatment, prevention, and research. As a result, our ability to combat this global pandemic has been strengthened and the lives of millions of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide have been dramatically improved. It is imperative that the Bush Administration not abandon this important commitment.

The funding levels proposed in the Bush budget are a disappointment. A bipartisan group of Members (140 Democrats and 13 Republicans) signed on to a letter that I circulated earlier this year urging President Bush to include needed increases for HIV/AIDS care, treatment, prevention, and research in his budget. Unfortunately, the Administration has failed to provide enough funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, and CDC HIV Prevention to even keep pace with inflation.

The Administration has said that we should focus on resources on vaccine development rather than additional services through the Ryan White CARE Act. Vaccine development is crucial, and I have introduced the Vaccines for the New Millennium Act in order to accelerate private sector vaccine research. However, we must never weaken our commitment to providing care for those who are living with HIV and AIDS. In this era of surpluses, we can and we must provide the resources necessary for HIV/AIDS research, care, and prevention.

The Congressional HIV/AIDS Task Force will request a meeting with the White House to open up a dialogue between the Administration and the Task Force on HIV/AIDS funding needs and policy priorities in the 107th Congress. Although great strides have been made, there is much more work to be done. The combination therapies that have brought so much hope are still not reaching all of those in need. And the changing nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, along with the continuing impact of HIV/AIDS in traditionally affected communities, has created new challenges. In addition, we must do everything possible to accelerate the development of a preventive vaccine and ensure that uninsured people living with HIV have access to Medicaid coverage.

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