Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) helped pass legislation to provide life-saving care, treatment, and support services to nearly half a million Americans living with HIV and AIDS. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act makes vital investments in research and care to ensure that Americans living with HIV and AIDS can maintain the highest quality of life as we strive to find a cure.

“We cannot allow AIDS to continue devastating families and communities. We know how to save people’s lives, but the distressing reality remains that not enough AIDS prevention and treatment assistance is available to those who need it most,” said Congressman Himes. “Today’s extension of the Ryan White Act helps provide care and support to AIDS victims and makes a strong commitment to preventing the spread of the disease.”

First established in 1990, the Ryan White Program has made it easier for HIV/AIDS patients to afford the costly medical treatments they need to survive. Today’s extension will increase the authorization level for each part of the program by 5 percent a year for the next four years to ensure that we continue to provide access to vital health benefits for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured Americans. It also makes investments to improve care in regions of the country with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and helps to eliminate disparities in access to care among racial and ethnic groups by funding the Minority AIDS Initiative, a program that ensures minority populations receive uninterrupted, quality care for HIV/AIDS.

In Fairfield County alone, nearly 4,000 individuals are living with HIV/AIDS. Last year, over 100 new cases were reported locally, three of which were children.