Today the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, which will benefit individuals who need access to effective, comprehensive HIV care and treatment. We are pleased by the Court’s decision to uphold the law that will provide access to health insurance coverage and help connect thousands of individuals to critical, life saving HIV medical care.
In 2011, a ground-breaking clinical trial (HPTN 052) – named the scientific breakthrough of the year by Science magazine – found that HIV treatment not only saves patient lives, but also reduces HIV transmission by more than 96% -- proving that HIV treatment is also HIV prevention. Ensuring access to such effective treatment through national health care reform will keep us on track toward fulfilling the promise of a future AIDS-free generation.
In moving forward with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Congress and Administration should ensure adequate support for HIV medical services currently supported by the Ryan White Program. These critical services both improve lives and save money. In particular, Part C of the Ryan White Program funds comprehensive HIV care and treatment, services that are directly responsible for the dramatic decreases in AIDS-related mortality and morbidity over the last decade. Part C providers serve over 255,000 patients with HIV/AIDS per year, or over half of the individuals in regular care and treatment. A study from the Part C clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that patients treated at the later stages of HIV disease required 2.6 times more health care dollars than those receiving earlier treatment meeting federal HIV treatment guidelines. Maintaining the clinical infrastructure and expertise of Ryan White Part C programs is particularly important because these centers of excellence will help keep patients engaged in essential HIV care and treatment while the system around them is transforming.
Just yesterday, the nation acknowledged National HIV Testing Day, a day of education and outreach about HIV disease. There are an estimated 1.2 million individuals living with HIV in the United States and they all need access to high-quality, continuous care to stay healthy, reduce new HIV infections, and cut long-term health care costs. The Affordable Care Act will help expand access to such care, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Obama Administation and Congress on this hallmark effort.
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