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December 18, 1998

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We all know there is much to do, in boosting prevention and international support, and in developing an HIV vaccine. I will make sure this vaccine remains a top priority for my Administration.

President Bill Clinton
December 18, 1998

Today, President Clinton announces the release of $479 million in new Ryan White funding to improve primary health care and supportive services for people with HIV/AIDS. The President will unveil these grants in a meeting with his Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS to hear a report on their work and to seek their advice on ways to improve the Nation's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Presidential Leadership In The Battle Against HIV/AIDS. The President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS was created by the President in 1995 to provide guidance on the Nation's efforts to care for those living with HIV/AIDS, to stop the spread of the disease, and to improve vaccine and treatment efforts. Today, President Clinton will:

  • Announce $479 million in grants are being released under Title I of the Ryan White CARE Act to fund primary health care and supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS. These grants serve low-income individuals and families in 50 eligible metropolitan areas hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic, and include special funds targeting African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities;
  • Renew his call on Congress to pass legislation that will assist us in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including passage of: a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights, legislation, such as the Jeffords/Kennedy bill, that helps people with disabilities access affordable health care coverage so they can return to work, and enhanced efforts to find an AIDS vaccine.

Building On Efforts To Address The HIV/AIDS Epidemic. Today's activities build on Administration efforts in the past few months to gain critical investments in HIV/AIDS research and treatment, including:

  • Launching a new initiative on World AIDS Day 1998 to address the crisis of AIDS orphans and international HIV/AIDS. This initiative increases NIH AIDS research funding by 12 percent, HIV vaccine research by 33 percent, and designates $10 million in an effort to address the growing crisis of AIDS orphans in developing countries;
  • Declaring HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minority communities to be a severe and ongoing health care crisis, and unveiling a new $156 million initiative to address this problem, including crisis response teams, enhanced prevention efforts, and assistance in accessing state-of-the-art therapies, all targeted toward ethnic and racial minorities in communities across the country;
  • Working with Congress to secure historic increases in a wide range of effective HIV/AIDS programs.

A Solid Record Of Progress In The Fight Against HIV/AIDS. The Clinton/Gore Administration has a proud record of accomplishment in its response to HIV/AIDS, including:

  • Increasing funding for major HIV/AIDS programs by over 100 percent;
  • Protecting Medicaid and Social Security. The President fought to preserve the guarantee of coverage under Medicaid, which serves more that 50 percent of people living with AIDS -- and 92 percent of children -- and revised eligibility rules for Social Security Disability Insurance to increase the number of HIV-positive persons who qualify for benefits;
  • Focusing National Efforts on an AIDS Vaccine. In 1997, the President challenged the nation to develop an HIV vaccine within the next ten years. The President has fought to increase research funding to help achieve this goal.

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