Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced today that the city of Boston has received $13.9 million under the federal Ryan White Part A Program to provide a range of critical HIV health and support services to the more than 6,300 people living with HIV/AIDS throughout Boston and the surrounding area. This year’s funding represents a 1.3 percent increase over last year’s award.
“This money will allow us to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of those living with HIV,” said Mayor Menino. “At a time when budgets are tight, we are working hard to make sure that no one falls through the cracks and that our residents get the quality care and services they need.”
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) administers the funds to local community health centers and other community-based organizations in a ten-county region – from Worcester, down to New Bedford, and north into southern New Hampshire. A total of 42 agencies have been awarded Ryan White funding by the Commission. These organizations provide a range of services including access to medications, comprehensive case management, oral health care, substance abuse and mental health services, home delivered meals, housing support, transportation, and support groups.
“We have already seen a dramatic reduction in HIV incidence in our region and are so pleased we can continue this important work,” said Barbara Ferrer, executive director of BPHC. “As health care reform continues to get implemented nationwide, this money will help Boston be a model for how to meet the goals of the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, as well as for combating other chronic diseases.”
Darren Sack, chair of the Boston HIV/AIDS Services Planning Council, said, “As chair of the Boston HIV Services Planning Council and a person living with HIV, I am thrilled to see the planning work of the Council, and the implementation work of BPHC, rewarded with this amount of funding. While the number of people living with HIV continues to grow, these funds will help ensure that we can maintain an accessible and comprehensive system of HIV care. The ability to directly impact and improve lives of people living with HIV by being part of the Council is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever had the honor to be involved with over my 20-plus years of working with HIV organizations and providers.”
The Ryan White Program is named after Ryan White who was diagnosed with AIDS at age 13. He and his mother fought for his right to attend school, gaining international attention as a voice of reason about HIV/AIDS. At the age of 18, Ryan White died on April 8, 1990, just months before Congress passed the AIDS bill that bears his name – the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act. The legislation has been reauthorized four times since – in 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2009 – and is now called the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
Nationally the Ryan White Program provides more than $2 billion in funding each year to urban areas (referred to as “Part A” of the legislation) and states (“Part B”), as well as outpatient health services (“Part C”) and services for women, infants, children, and youth living with HIV (“Part D”). This is twenty-second year that Boston has received funding.