September 18, 2021

Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Jenniffer González continue to fight for those living with HIV Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus Co-chairs introduce bipartisan bill

Washington, D.C. -  The Co-Chairs of the Congressional HIV / AIDS Caucus, Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Jenniffer González Colón (PR-At Large), continue to join forces to combat the stigma felt by people living with HIV, as well as to promote prevention and research to achieve a cure to this epidemic. This time, they introduced a bipartisan resolution in the House (H. Res. 649) in support of the goals of HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, which is observed on September 18th  each year.

The resolution includes ongoing efforts for prevention, care and treatment services, and research programs for communities affected by HIV and especially older people living with HIV in the United States and around the world.

“On HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, we recognize the unique challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS face as they age,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Co-Chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain public health resources –– especially for communities of color and low-income communities who face systemic barriers to care –– it is more critical than ever that we support older communities living with HIV/AIDS. I am proud to lead this effort with Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón.”

“It is time to put an end to the attacks and stigma against people living with HIV / AIDS. That’s why with my colleague Barbara Lee, as co-chairs of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, we have introduced this bipartisan bill that supports and encourages the creation of public policies that allow greater access to healthcare services, that eliminate criminalization and prejudice, and promote counseling, treatment, and empowerment of patients. Our goal as co-chairs is to strengthen and advocate for initiatives to prevent this epidemic, as well as secure research resources to find a cure. To all those living with HIV / AIDS please know that you are not alone and that we will continue to advocate for funds and resources to combat this epidemic”, said Rep. Jenniffer González Colón, co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are more than 1,200,000 people living with HIV / AIDS in the United States. More than half of the individuals with HIV / AIDS in the United States are people age 50 and older. According to Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in Georgia, by 2018 there were 15,848 people diagnosed with HIV in Puerto Rico, of which 42.7% are over 55 years of age.
Research shows that older Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV late in the course of their illness than younger Americans, meaning that older generations are more likely to be diagnosed with both HIV and AIDS . The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that people living with HIV for many years may exhibit clinical features seen in aging, including multiple chronic diseases or coexisting conditions, use of multiple medications, changes in physical and cognitive abilities and greater vulnerability to stressors.

Original Co-sponsors: Reps. (Barbara Lee, Jenniffer González-Colón) Carolyn B. Maloney, Danny K. Davis, Maria Elvira Salazar, Ted Deutch, Jan Schakowsky, Brian Fitzpatrick, Bobby L. Rush, David N. Cicilline, Paul Tonko, Madeleine Dean, Terri A. Sewell, Darren Soto, Mike Quigley, Nikema Williams, Mondaire Jones, Angie Craig, Nanette Diaz Barragán, James P. McGovern
Endorsed by: SAGE; HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute; AIDS United; NASTAD; Black AIDS Institute; Let’s Kick ASS— AIDS Survivor Syndrome; Prevention Access Campaign, Undetectable = Untransmittable; Health Equity Institute, San Francisco State University; Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN); The AIDS Institute; HealthHIV; National Coalition for LGBT Health; NMAC; HIV Medicine Association; Trillium Health; Rochester Area Task Force on AIDS, Inc. (RATFA); National Black Justice Coalition; North Carolina AIDS Action Network; AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC); APLA Health; Waves Ahead & SAGE Puerto Rico; Fenway Health; National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project; National HIV and Aging Advocacy Network (NHAAN); Treatment Action Group.