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Clarence Pullom views an AIDS quilt before the start of a luncheon presentation for Alabama AIDS Day on Wednesday.
AP photo by Rob Carr
Clarence Pullom views an AIDS quilt before the start of a luncheon presentation for Alabama AIDS Day on Wednesday.

More state funds are needed to match federal, officials say

MONTGOMERY (AP)— Increased state funding has ended a waiting list and improved help for Alabama residents living with HIV and AIDS, but advocates and health officials cautioned Wednesday that an upcoming increase in federal funds means more state money is needed for required matches.

AIDS Alabama CEO Kathie Hiers said the state, which received $12 million in federal aid last year, is set to receive another $5 million to $7 million in new federal money early next month after hard-fought efforts to restructure the Ryan White CARE Act.

But the state needs to approve the $5 million it provided last year and up to $3.5 million more for the required federal match of the new funds. If it doesn't, she said, it could lose a percentage of the additional federal funding and raise the threat of a new waiting list.

Luncheon

Her comments came as several dozen advocates, state officials and people living with HIV/AIDS gathered at an annual luncheon in downtown Montgomery, where legislators, praised for providing a boost in funding, were given an update on the diseases in Alabama. Jeanne White-Ginder, whose son Ryan White died after contracting AIDS from treatments for hemophilia, was among the guest speakers.

"There are people who will say, 'If we're getting all this new funding, why are we having this today?' Well, first of all, we won't get that new funding if our state doesn't make a required match," Hiers said. "The state of Alabama must invest at least as much as they did last year ... or we lose part of our federal Ryan White funds."

The CARE act was passed in 1990 and named for White-Ginder's son. It provides about $2 billion annually and is the main source of federal AIDS/HIV funding.

The U.S. House renewed the act in December, ending a long-running tug-of-war between Southern states, where the rates of the disease are growing fastest, and those with larger urban areas, which previously had the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and received more funding.

The new act provides $70 million in new money and adjusted the funding formula to help Southern points.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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