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HIV medical providers unite to advocate for patient care

Medical providers facing a crisis in HIV care are forming a coalition that will stand up for the needs of community health centers, university and hospital clinics, city and county health departments, private clinics, and others providing medical care for low-income people with HIV with nowhere else to turn.

Clinics and other programs funded through the Ryan White CARE Act provide care and services to more than half a million people with HIV nationwide. The Title III Coalition represents medical providers funded through Title III of the CARE Act, who are struggling after years of stagnant funding as their patient loads have steadily increased.

Forty thousand people are newly infected with HIV every year in the United States alone. Advances in medical care and lifesaving medications have changed HIV/AIDS from a fatal illness to a manageable, chronic condition. But Congress has not supplied the funding to Title III providers to keep pace with the epidemic and bring these advances within reach of the soaring numbers of low-income, uninsured, and underinsured people with HIV/AIDS.

Merceditas Villanueva MD, project director of the Title III Program at the Waterbury Hospital ID Clinic in Waterbury, CT, said the number of patients at her clinic has more than doubled in two-and-a-half years. "We have risen to the challenge with limited resources, and we offer our patients some of the best care available in medicine," she said. "For this," she added with frustration, "we were asked to take an $8,000 cut in our Title III base funding levels."

The Title III Coalition will advocate for funding for medical providers to respond to the full scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. People with HIV very often have complex medical and other needs that can make treating their HIV disease more difficult. More than half of Dr. Villanuevas patients are infected with hepatitis C. One in five has hypertension or diabetes or both. More than half have dep
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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
24-Jan-2007


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