The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) and AIDS activists nationwide are calling for the immediate passage of the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1), which will allocate $400 million for HIV and STI prevention funding. The stimulus bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on January 28 by a vote of 244 to 188 and awaits Senate approval; however, some of the bill’s critics want to remove HIV and STD prevention funding from the economic stimulus package. According to The New York Times, President Barack Obama’s administration and Democrats have cut two provisions from the version of the bill passed by the House, including $200 million to renovate the National Mall and millions for family planning.

Since 2002, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) HIV prevention budget has fallen 19.3 percent while its sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention funding has dropped 15 percent during that same time period. In light of the CDC’s announcement in August 2008 that the number of annual HIV cases in the United States is 40 percent higher than previously estimated, activists are calling on lawmakers to bolster efforts of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention to better combat HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

To add your voice to the call for the bill’s passage, visit to find the contact information for your senator—then let that lawmaker hear from you.