THE RYAN WHITE CARE ACT
In August 1990, Congress signed the Ryan White CARE Act and in doing so created a system of services that has greatly improved the quality and availability of health care services for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Named for Ryan White, the HIV positive teenager from Indiana who made headlines with his brave fight against ignorance and prejudice, the CARE Act funds a variety of health and social programs across the country. Now the time has come for Congress to reauthorize the Act so thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS can continue to receive the quality care that was lacking before the Act was signed ten years ago. To understand the importance of the Ryan White Care Act, one must look at the essential services it provides.
Title I provides grants in metropolitan areas where the epidemic has hit hardest. Metropolitan areas such as Detroit, Philadelphia and New York all receive these monies to provide care for the disproportional numbers of HIV infected persons in their cities. Services made available by Title I include outpatient health care, case management, home health and hospice care, housing, nutrition services and transportation.
Title II provides funding to states and is used for such services as testing, education, and prevention, home and community based health care, medications through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), local consortia that assess the needs of the HIV population and assist in implementation of services to meet those needs, and direct health support services.
Title III provides for early intervention out-patient care for all persons living with HIV. Monies distributed to individual medical facilities and agencies provide primary medical care, health education, and psychosocial services designed to facilitate easy access to services, which in turn helps people live healthier, more productive lives.
Programs funded by Title IV, provide family centered care for children, women and families. The majority of people serviced by Title IV are poor, minorities, and have limited access to housing and transportation.
Special Projects of National Significance
These funds are targeted at innovative projects that address the needs of special and hard to reach populations. Rural populations, adolescents, and the homeless are just a few of the people benefiting from these funds.
AIDS Education and Training Center Program
This national network conducts multidisciplinary education for health care providers across the United States.
HIV/AIDS Dental Reimbursement
These funds are provided to assist dental schools in providing dental care to HIV infected persons who are uninsured or are unable to afford dental care.
AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)
This program provides essential medications to those infected persons who are uninsured or are unable to afford the enormous cost of HIV related medicines. In 1997, the ADAP budget alone was approximately $167 million, and continues to increase as more people are living longer with HIV.
It's obvious that the Ryan White Care Act plays an essential role in the continuing battle against HIV in this country as well as around the world. Recently the Health Resources Services Administration HRSA, the government agency that manages the Ryan White monies held its' All Titles Meeting in Washington DC. Approximately 1500 representatives from programs all across the country gathered to share ideas, and more importantly to urge for the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act. Speaking at the conference was Jeanne White, mother of Ryan White. Her message was clear; while the Act carries the name of just one young man, it represents the faces of thousands of HIV infected people all across the country who depend on the Act for the resources that are essential to their personal fight against HIV. Help them win their fight. Talk to your representatives in government, talk to your health care providers, talk to your friends. Urge them all to insist on the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act. The war against HIV and AIDS can't be won without it.
Each year at least 500,000 individuals are touched by the Ryan White CARE Act by receiving one or more services from providers which are funded by the Act.