The House has passed an amendment proposed by freshman Florida rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) to increase funding that would combat HIV/AIDS in minority communities.
In a bipartisan effort, the House voted in favor of the appropriations package that would increase the allocation of funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative Fund by $5 million.
Speaking on the passing of her amendment, Mucarsel-Powell informed that “despite progress combating the HIV/AIDS issue nationwide, in Miami the trend is going in the wrong direction.”
She added that “the rate of new diagnoses in the Miami area is three times the national average, the highest rate of anywhere in the country, with racial and ethnic minorities making up three of four new cases.”
Moreover, Mucarsel-Powell explained that “while we continue fighting this preventable disease, we must keep fighting the stigma associated with the disease, too,” saying that “undetectable = untransmittable.”
So, she asserted that “it is critical that we continue to provide support for innovative initiatives – like Prevention 305 in Miami – that help prevent the spread of HIV and provide quality care for those living with HIV/AIDS through the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund.”
The Minority HIV/Aids fund is designed to transform HIV prevention, care and treatment for communities of color by uniting federal, state and community organizations to create and test innovative solutions that will address critical emerging needs. In addition, they will work to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of federal investments in HIV programs and services for ethnic and racial minorities.
Carl Schmid, the Deputy Executive Director of the AIDS Institute, praised the bipartisan effort and Mucarsel-Powell’s leadership, adding that “in order to end the HIV epidemic, we must address the disproportionate impact that HIV has on minority communities, including African-Americans and Latinos.”
Calling the Fund “a tool to expand innovative HIV treatment and prevention techniques in minority populations,” Schmid noted that “increasing funding for the program” will provide “a greater impact on our Nation’s fight against HIV.”