Twenty years ago, the Ryan White CARE Act brought a lifeline of hope and care to Americans living with HIV/AIDS. The legislation marked a long overdue step forward for the well-being of thousands of people too often left behind by our health system or unable to afford critical and necessary treatment. Today, that fight continues. We remain committed to winning the battle to defeat this disease.
San Francisco was hit early and hit hard by the devastation of HIV/AIDS. But San Franciscans responded by developing a system of community-based care that became the model for the Ryan White CARE Act. Our city showed the nation that comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and services work, save lives, and save money by keeping people healthy and productive.
Two decades after its enactment, initiatives funded by the Ryan White CARE Act are a fundamental component of care for low-income individuals with HIV and AIDS. Each year, this legislation ensures access to lifesaving medical services for over 500,000 people — almost half of the individuals living with HIV/AIDS in this country. And with health insurance reform in place, our nation will keep working to close coverage gaps that prevent people with HIV/AIDS from accessing the care they need to stay healthy.
Moving forward, we will continue upholding the spirit of the Ryan White CARE Act — ensuring that HIV/AIDS care, treatment, prevention, and research receive increased funding, and improving and strengthening those investments until HIV/AIDS is a painful chapter in the distant past.