For Immediate Release
April 13, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced that Boston has received more than $14 million in federal funding this year through the Ryan White program, the nation’s largest HIV/AIDS-specific federal grant program. The funding represents a 6.4 percent increase over last year and includes $813,845 designated for additional HIV services for communities of color, which are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. This marks the 20th year that the Boston Eligible Metropolitan Area (EMA) has received funding under the Ryan White program.
“We are very pleased that Boston has again received funding as part of the Ryan White program,” said Mayor Menino. “The increased support from the federal government will allow us to continue vital treatment and prevention programs and will help ensure access to care for all people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly those in our most vulnerable communities.”
The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, first approved in 1990 and extended last year by President Obama, provides emergency relief to regions with the largest number of reported HIV/AIDS cases throughout the United States. For the past 20 years, the federal funding has supported a myriad of critical services for those living with HIV and/or AIDS, especially those who are underinsured or are low-income.
This year’s funding will provide services to more than 6,600 people living with HIV/AIDS in the Boston EMA, a 10-county region that spans across Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. In all, the Boston Public Health Commission will grant awards to 50 community-based agencies providing nearly 100 programs and services including: access to primary care, reimbursement for drug therapy, targeted medical case management, housing, client advocacy, peer support, food and transportation programs, mental and dental health, and substance abuse services.
The Ryan White program’s Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) strengthens services for communities of color, supporting community agencies whose client base is majority minority. Communities of color continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, which affects nearly 15,000 people in the Boston EMA. Although Black residents represent only 5.5 percent of the EMA population, they account for 31 percent of total AIDS cases and 35 percent of new AIDS cases. Hispanic residents, who are 7.7 percent of the EMA population, account for 21 percent of total AIDS cases.
“While we’ve seen steady declines in the number of new cases of HIV and AIDS in Boston since 2000, Black and Latino residents have consistently had the highest rates of infection compared to other racial or ethnic groups,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Health Commission’s executive director. “We look forward to continuing our work to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS across all populations, but especially among Black and Latino residents.”
The Ryan White program is a testament to the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s enduring legacy. Sen. Kennedy was a key author and sponsor of the 1990 legislation and played a critical role in its continued authorization. Even after his passing, the Senator’s staff played a key role in working on a bipartisan consensus to pass the 2009 extension.
“The late Senator Kennedy was one of the most stalwart advocates for improving the health of our residents and our nation,” said Mayor Menino. “We could not continue to fight HIV/AIDS - one of the most ubiquitous epidemics of our time - without Senator Kennedy and the efforts of his staff.”
The Boston EMA service region includes seven counties in Massachusetts – Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester – and three counties in New Hampshire – Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford. Under the Ryan White legislation, the Mayor of Boston serves as the CEO of the Boston EMA and appoints an HIV Services Planning Council.