Pelosi: Ryan White Act Saves Lives and Offers a Lifeline of Treatment and Support to Americans Living With HIV/AIDS

Washington, D.C.– Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today after attending a ceremony at the White House where President Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act into law.

“Today’s signing of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act by President Obama offers a lifeline of care, treatment, and support to low-income Americans living with this disease.  Every year, this legislation guarantees access to lifesaving medical services, primary care, and medications for more than 500,000 patients, nearly half of all those living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.  Reauthorizing the Ryan White Act allows us to build on this progress, save lives, and help create a healthier America.

“As everyone knows, San Francisco was hit early and hard by the devastation of AIDS.  But San Franciscans responded to the needs of our neighbors by developing a system of community-based care that became the model for the Ryan White CARE Act when it was first enacted in 1990.  As a result, San Francisco produced data that showed the country comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and services not only saves lives, but also saves money by keeping people healthy and productive.

“San Francisco continues to stand on the front lines of the fight against HIV/AIDS.  As such, many of us were disappointed when the Bush Administration implemented the 2006 reauthorization in a way that caused drastic cuts to several jurisdictions, including San Francisco. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans objected to correcting these implementation flaws in this reauthorization.  However, I remain committed to responding to these needs through the appropriations process, as we have done each year since the Bush Administration first attempted to impose these destabilizing cuts.

“Today’s announcement by President Obama that he will lift the rule barring people with HIV/AIDS from entering the United States marks a courageous and critical step forward in the fight against this disease.  America must lead by action and by example – and the Ryan White Act and the President’s lifting of the travel ban both achieve that goal as we continue the battle against HIV/AIDS.”