The National HIV/AIDS Strategy represents the nation's first comprehensive plan to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in this country. The strategy sets specific targets and provides detailed implementation information on the steps we must take to increase access to high quality HIV/AIDS care and treatment, decrease new HIV infections, and reduce HIV-related health disparities.
This targeted approach focuses on more effective coordination of all federal efforts and more efficient use of federal resources. It also identifies the smart investments needed to reduce HIV transmission, improve health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce HIV-related healthcare costs.
This new strategic plan builds on the extensive work of the Democratic Congress to strengthen HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and research at home and around the world. Since President Obama took office, we have lifted the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange, ended the travel ban for people with HIV/AIDS, and eliminated discretionary funding for ineffective abstinence-only education. We also reauthorized the Ryan White Act, providing a lifeline of care, treatment, and support services to low-income Americans with HIV/AIDS.
Since Democrats assumed the majority in Congress, funding for the Ryan White Act, CDC HIV prevention activities, NIH HIV/AIDS research and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS has jumped by more than $500 million. And in passing health insurance reform, we dramatically increased access to Medicaid for people with HIV, improved Medicare Part D for people participating in the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, ended discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and ended annual and lifetime caps on health benefits.
I look forward to working with President Obama, my colleagues in Congress, doctors, researchers, community-based organizations and people living with HIV/AIDS to secure the necessary resources to implement this strategy and meet the President's goals.