On World AIDS Day, we unite in solidarity worldwide in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We show support for people living with the disease and commemorate those who have died. We stand together to raise awareness about the epidemic so we can prevent further spread of the virus and give hope to the 1.1 million Americans and the 36.9 million women, men and children worldwide who are living with HIV/AIDS.
Throughout my career, I have been a strong advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment. I worked with local organizations and community leaders to raise funds for local minority HIV/AIDS initiatives in Los Angeles and introduced legislation to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African-Americans in the California State Assembly.
As a Member of the U.S. Congress, I spearheaded the establishment of the Minority AIDS Initiative, which has significantly expanded HIV/AIDS prevention, screening, and treatment efforts among racial and ethnic minorities and reduced the tragic AIDS disparities affecting minority communities in the United States. I am pleased to report that funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative has increased from the initial appropriation of $156 million in fiscal year 1999 to more than $400 million per year today.
However, we still face unprecedented challenges in our struggle against HIV/AIDS. For the past two years, Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans have debated proposals to slash funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts and take health insurance away from millions of Americans, including those who are living with HIV/AIDS and other pre-existing conditions.
Furthermore, after implementing an unconscionable policy of family separation, which snatched more than 2,500 children from the arms of their parents, the Trump administration shifted millions of dollars in funding from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program in order to fund housing and care for migrant children, many of whom they have failed to reunite with their parents.
The administration also announced further cuts to programs that benefit people living with HIV/AIDS, including: $3.8 million from HIV programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), $9.8 million from Medicare and Medicaid program operations, $2.2 million from maternal and child health programs, and $87.3 million overall from the National Institutes of Health. Americans living with HIV/AIDS deserve better.
On World AIDS Day 2018, we must confront the challenges we face, and we must resist all attempts to abandon the struggle against this terrible disease. We must fight to protect Obamacare, which ensures that people living with HIV/AIDS and other pre-existing conditions can obtain health coverage. We must fight to stop budget cuts to all of the federal programs serving people affected by HIV/AIDS.
We must expand research, prevention, screening and treatment efforts, and we must fight to make sure all Americans living with HIV/AIDS receive the care and treatment they need and deserve.