Amida Care Joins 25th Anniversary AIDSWatch Rally at U.S. Capitol
March 28, 2018
Washington, DC – On March 26 and 27, Amida Care joined over 500 people living with HIV and their allies at the U.S. Capitol for the 25th annual AIDSWatch advocacy event.
Presented by The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and implemented as a partnership between AIDS United, the Treatment Access Expansion Project, and the U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus, AIDSWatch is the largest constituent-based HIV advocacy event in the U.S. As Congress begins turning its attention to next year’s budget, AIDSWatch participants worked to educate members of Congress on the need for funding to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. Participants emphasized that support is needed to expand access to care for people living with HIV, increase federal investment in HIV prevention, treatment, housing and research, protect the civil rights of all people living with HIV, and promote comprehensive sexual health education.
AIDSWatch participants stressed the importance of Medicaid in particular as a key health program to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They asked legislators to prevent attempts to undermine Medicaid, which include converting Medicaid funding into block grants for states, imposing work requirements, and implementing Medicaid premiums or lifetime limits on Medicaid access. These measures would put the health of more than 74 million Americans who count on Medicaid for health insurance in jeopardy. Without access to Medicaid, many people have no choice but to visit the emergency room more frequently, are hospitalized more often, require costly nursing homes, rack up higher medical bills, and get pushed into poverty. Those higher costs are ultimately passed on to the government, insurers, and taxpayers.
“Twenty-five years fighting HIV, we’ve seen so many major legislative victories, and secured the resources necessary for so much life-saving research, but our advocacy is as critical now as it ever was,” stated AIDS United CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. “Twenty-five years since the first AIDSWatch, and we are only in year two of the Trump administration, with a gridlocked Congress, languishing under Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. We have much to do. And I’m so proud that AIDS United is part of that critical work, advancing the very policies that will one day end this epidemic.”
“By making the right investments, we can end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. We have the tools, and we must ensure that the communities that need them the most are able to access HIV testing, treatment, and prevention as part of quality, comprehensive health care. I was proud to lead the Amida Care team at AIDSWatch to help educate Congress about policies and programs that are critical to reach our goal to end AIDS,” said Lyndel Urbano, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at Amida Care.
Joining this year’s advocates were the grandchildren of iconic actress and fierce activist Elizabeth Taylor, as well as celebrity fashion designer and Ambassador for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Zac Posen. Amida Care staff teamed up with former New York State Senator Thomas Duane to conduct constituent meetings with legislators. Duane was the first openly gay member of the New York State Senate and its only openly HIV-positive member.