June 16, 2001

Minority leaders call for more federal AIDS funds

from the ADVOCATE


A coalition of African-American, Asian, and Latino congressional leaders on Tuesday urged the federal government to increase funding for AIDS programs in minority communities, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The money should follow the epidemic and go to communities disproportionately affected,” said Virgin Islands congressional delegate Donna Christian-Christensen. “We want to ascertain that minority communities and faith-based organizations are getting those dollars.” Christian-Christensen, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, joined members of the congressional Hispanic and Asian-Pacific caucuses at a meeting to discuss the need for more money targeting HIV prevention, treatment, and education efforts among minorities.

The caucuses are seeking $540 million a year in funding for such programs, an increase from the $385 million currently budgeted. Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson told the groups that the Bush administration is committed to providing adequate funding to address their needs. He said his agency will review the $10.2 billion spent annually on all AIDS programs to determine how “we can best use the dollars to do the job better.”