New Policies Produce Waves of Change

The year 2007 was one of monumental change. The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency (CARE) Act was renamed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act—a change that reflects the fact that addressing HIV/AIDS is not a one-time emergency but an ongoing crisis.

The legislation’s name change also served to reemphasize the importance of treatment as a Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program priority. Under the newly revamped law, Ryan White grantees that receive funds under Parts A, B, and C (formerly Titles I, II, and III) must demonstrate that they are spending at least 75 percent of the funds on “core medical services.” This requirement is designed to ensure that the majority of Ryan White funds are being spent in a way that directly affects the health of Ryan White consumers, reinforcing the status of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program as—first and foremost—a healthcare program for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Perhaps the biggest change presented by the new legislation has been the creation of an entirely new program—Transitional Grant Areas (TGAs). The five new areas represented by this program (all with populations of 50,000 or more) have reached an unhappy milestone: Between 1,000 and 1,999 AIDS cases have been reported in their municipality in the past 5 years. But there is hope.

HRSA is providing grants to new TGAs through Part A of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act to organizations like Friends for Life in Memphis, Tennessee, and Nashville Cares in Nashville, Tennessee. This funding will help ensure that clients have better access to the life-saving treatments they need. Without treatment, people living with HIV/AIDS would not be able to live healthy and productive lives. And without providers, treatment would be just another word.