GMHC Applauds Congressman Rangel for Introducing Legislation to Address HIV in African-American Communities

New York, N.Y. -- This week, New York City Congressman Charles Rangel introduced historic legislation to combat the HIV epidemic in the United States. Rangel's legislation addresses the extreme racial disparities experienced by African Americans in the domestic HIV epidemic.

The legislation notes that nearly half of the over 1 million Americans living with HIV are black, and that blacks overall are 8 times more likely to acquire HIV than their white counterparts, and that black women are 23 times more likely than white women to acquire HIV. Additionally, the bill priorities two specific black populations that are in most need of targeted HIV prevention research -- men who have sex with men (MSM), and women.

"Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) congratulates Congressman Rangel on his leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Marjorie J. Hill, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at GMHC. "This landmark legislation will make significant strides in combating the epidemic by involving the faith-based community, addressing homophobia, and targeting critical federal resources to populations at disproportionate risk," added Hill.

In October 2007, Dr. Hill attended a two-day conclave of clergy and HIV experts which launched this legislative initiative. "I am grateful to Congressman Rangel for his ongoing leadership in the fight against AIDS, and proud of GMHC's partnership with the other participants in this meeting," concluded Hill.

The legislation, H.R. 1964, is titled the "National Black Clergy for the Elimination of HIV/AIDS Act."