New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is
sponsoring a bill that would help fight against HIV/AIDS in African
Gillibrand introduced her National
Black Clergy for the Elimination of HIV/AIDS of 2009 in the
Senate on Thursday. The bill has been referred to the Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.
“HIV/AIDS continues to have a
devastating impact on African Americans, particularly young women who
make up a disproportionate share of newly diagnosed cased,”
Gillibrand said in a statement. “This legislation provides federal
investments in early prevention and access to affordable care that
are needed to combat this horrible disease. By investing these
critical resources, we can help protect some of those most vulnerable
and save lives.”
New York Representative Charles Rangel
authored and introduced the measure in the House last April.
Rangel said the bill recognizes “the
important role of faith-based communities in fighting the AIDS
The Gillibrand-Rangel bill has its
roots in a 2007 National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA)
sponsored gathering that brought together clergy, lawmakers and
medical professionals to address the disproportionate HIV rate of
infection in African American communities. Young Black women account
for an alarming 69% of new cases in New York City, a recent report
“Senator Gillibrand's action
demonstrates her commitment to addressing the devastating HIV/AIDS
public health crisis that disproportionately impacts African
Americans nationwide,” C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of
NBLCA, said in a statement.
The bill would offer a comprehensive
approach to combat HIV/AIDS with new education initiatives, greater
access to affordable health care and help for at-risk youth.