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NM Delegation Applauds CARES Act Grant Funding for HIV/AIDS Treatment and Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $853,877 to the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Health and the Southwest C.A.R.E. Center, for the Ryan White HIV/Aids Program as a part of the COVID-19 CARES Act congressional response. The Ryan White HIV/Aids program is a grant program funded through HHS to provide care and treatment for HIV and AIDS patients who lack health insurance or face financial barriers to accessing care.

In 2018, the program served over 2,100 clients in New Mexico. Over 3,500 people live with diagnosed HIV in New Mexico, while 10.5% of the state’s population lacks health insurance as of 2019.

“As health care costs rise, and the economy continues to suffer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, these Ryan White-funded programs will help ensure life-saving medical care, medication and support for people with HIV and AIDS,” Udall said. “The Ryan White program serves the important purpose of increasing access to treatment and improving the health outcomes for people in need. I will continue to fight for New Mexicans in subsequent coronavirus funding packages to increase support for critical programs like Ryan White funds that are vital to the health and well-being of our families and communities.”

“We need to do all we can to protect the health and well-being of those in our communities who are most vulnerable to developing dangerous complications from the novel coronavirus,” said Heinrich. “New Mexicans living with HIV and AIDS are at much greater risk during this pandemic—especially those who are uninsured or face financial challenges. I’m proud that Congress passed this funding for these Ryan White grants in the CARES Act to ensure these New Mexicans can keep accessing lifesaving treatment and medical care during this public health crisis. I will keep doing everything in my power to fight for the funding and resources our state’s health care workers need to keep all of us safe and healthy during this national emergency.”

“The Ryan White program provides critically-needed care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS in New Mexico. This program helps reduce barriers for New Mexicans to access quality care and treatment, which is especially critical as we address the ongoing pandemic,” said Luján. “Ensuring the health and safety of every New Mexican remains a top priority. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to improve our health care system and uplift our communities.”

“Everyone deserves access to lifesaving treatment and health care during this crisis, however our community who struggles with HIV and AIDS is at a disproportionate risk – they are both underinsured and suffer from increased vulnerability to coronavirus. The Ryan White funds awarded to New Mexico health organizations will be a significant help for those who need regular treatment to stay healthy,” said Haaland. “In particular, the AIDS Education and Training Centers Program in my district, will be better equipped to fulfill their new mission as the regional headquarters of the program and provide health care professionals specifically trained to care for those most in need.”

“The current public health emergency has only heightened the importance of increasing access to care across New Mexico. During this time of economic uncertainty, this grant will enable community health organizations like the Southwest Care Center in Roswell to provide life-saving treatment for those who are uninsured or face financial barriers. I will continue to advocate for our communities across central and southern New Mexico to ensure access to quality healthcare in the next relief package,” said Torres Small.

The grants will support programs that provide primary health care, medications and support services. They will also assist with enhancing access to primary medical care, HIV-related medications, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, oral health, and case management services, home health care, nutritional and rehabilitation services that assist low-income and families living with HIV. 

The full list of awarded grants is below:

-          Southwest C.A.R.E Center $106,481

-          University of New Mexico $542,666

-          New Mexico Department of Health $36,185