Cherry's Blog

"The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them." Hosea 14:9b

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dems Deny AIDS testing for Poor Babies

A memo that found its way to me:

To: Judiciary and Budget LAs and Counsel
From: Sarah Novascone and Derek Kan, RPC
RE: Baby AIDS information

Please find below some information on the Baby AIDS program and H.J.Res. 20, the Continuing (Omnibus) Appropriations Bill.

Attached is a document from Senate Republican Conference Committee regarding Baby AIDS.

In 2006, Congress passed the Ryan White Early Diagnosis Grant Program. That program authorized $30 million in funding to states with infant HIV testing programs and offers an incentive for other states to develop similar programs.

Section 20613(b) of H.J.Res. 20 prohibits funding for the early diagnosis grant program (commonly known as the Baby AIDS program). The language states the following:

`(b) None of the funds appropriated by this division may be used to: (1) implement section 2625 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300ff-33; relating to the Ryan White early diagnosis grant program); or (2) enter into contracts for annual bulk monovalent influenza vaccine.

This language simply prohibited funding for the Baby AIDS program, a program which Congress created just two months ago. This provision does not save any money but rather prohibits funds to help identify toddlers with AIDS. This program has enormous potential and the President’s FY08 budget request includes $30 million for the Baby AIDS program.

Senator Coburn has introduced SA 234 to strike the provision in H.J.Res. 20 which prohibits funding for Baby AIDS. Unfortunately, Senator Reid has filled the amendment-tree and will likely block Republicans from offering any other amendments.

Success of Baby AIDS Program:

The number of HIV-infected newborns dropped from 321 in 1990 to just five in 2003.
In May 2004, Governor Pataki announced a 78 percent decline in infected newborns between 1997 and 2002.

In October 1999, Connecticut enacted a Baby AIDS law requiring universal screening of all pregnant women if not documented HIV test was on file. As a result 91 percent of women were tested, up from 38 percent.

Democrats and Baby AIDS:

On 12/8/06, Senator Dodd:

“Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the Senate's unanimous passage of the Ryan White HIV /AIDS Treatment Modernization Act earlier this week. It has been 25 years since the first AIDS diagnosis in the United State. The programs and services funded by title IV have kept families alive and together. For example, title IV projects have led the way toward reducing mother-to-child transmission from more than 2,000 babies born HIV -positive each year to fewer than 200. In my home State of Connecticut, a total of 213 babies have been born to HIV -positive mothers since 2002. Of that total, only one baby has been confirmed as HIV -positive.”
On 3/28/06, Reuters reported: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton called on Tuesday for mandatory testing for HIV/AIDS in countries with high infection rates and the means to provide lifesaving drugs. When the AIDS epidemic began two decades ago mandatory testing was frowned on because of the stigma attached to the deadly illness and the lack of treatment for those infected. But Clinton said countries where there was no discrimination against people with the illness and where anti-AIDS drugs were available should now consider universal testing. "I think there needs to be a total rethinking of this testing position in the AIDS community and a real push for this," Clinton told journalists during a briefing in London.
Senators Brown and Menendez were cosponsors to the original 1995 Baby AIDS bill;
On 5/22/95, the AP reported, ”With a huge drawing by a child as a backdrop, Mrs. Clinton also said anti-AIDS spending in the federal budget must be protected. ‘We cannot let budget politics threaten our ability to prevent HIV-infected babies,’ she said. ‘Mothers should be tested for HIV so babies can be saved.’"

(message originally sent by:
Derek Kan, Republican Policy Committee
United States Senate)