H2876 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE June 5, 2001
health plans will only be subject to li- the patient or heirs or the plan can GENERAL LEAVE
ability under section 502 for benefit ad- elect to continue the review process Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I ask
ministration decisions that cause harm and the court can consider the out- unanimous consent that all Members
or death. Those include decisions such come. But we do not want to pass a law may have 5 legislative days within
as whether an employee is eligible for that says that a plan can slow-walk an which to revise and extend their re-
coverage, whether a benefit is part of appeals process, delay treatment, make marks on the Special Orders of today.
the plan or other purely administrative this thing go on and on, and then have The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there
contractual decisions. the patient die in the meantime, and objection to the request of the gen-
Punitive damages are not allowed then be liable for nothing; at least I do tleman from Texas?
under the Federal cause of action. A not want to. There was no objection.
civil assessment may be awarded upon Now, the Norwood-Dingell bill re- Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, today
showing clear and convincing evidence moved the ERISA section 514 preemp- we mark the 20th year of the AIDS epi-
that the plan acted in bad faith and tion of State law for all torts and al- demic. On June 5, 1981, the Centers for
with flagrant disregard. Those are high lowed injured patients to bring a cause Disease Control published a morbidity
standards. of action in State court for injuries and mortality weekly report on the
This standard carries a high burden caused by a medical decision or an ad- diseases which affect AIDS. I spoke at
of proof and is consistent with State ministrative decision. Our new bill is the rally this past Sunday.
statutes. This standard ensures that a different. Our new bill says, and it is a Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentle-
health plan will not be subject to these significant compromise, it limits the woman from the Virgin Islands (Mrs.
damages for simply making a wrong scope of actions that can be filed in CHRISTENSEN).
decision. A plan must show flagrant State court to only those involving Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker, I
disregard for the health and safety of medically-reviewable decisions. That is want to thank the gentleman for pro-
others. Before exercising that legal a major compromise. We made this viding this hour for us to discuss this
remedy, the patient has to exhaust step towards the opponents to our bill. important issue and remember and
both internal and external appeals This bifurcation of the remedy into a look back over the 20 years since the
processes. If the patient suffers irrep- State component and a Federal compo- first cases of then an unknown disease
arable harm or death prior to the com- nent holds to the principles underlying was being discovered.
pletion of the review process, the pa- ERISA. The existing Federal cause of The gentleman and I were fortunate
tient or heirs of the plan can elect to action under ERISA affords health today to be able to spend some time at
continue the review process and the plans a set of uniform standards for a symposium in Washington that was
court can consider the outcome. That making administrative decisions. That sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foun-
is from language adopted from the is what ERISA was intended to do. dation and the Ford Foundation to
That is why it was originally designed look back over those years to see how
Goss-Coburn-Shadegg substitute that
to be a bill for the benefit of employ- far we have come and how far we have
was debated on this floor 2 years ago
ees, not employers. However, when a yet to go. I want to take this oppor-
and which received a lot of support
health plan makes a decision that in- tunity to thank the Kaiser Foundation
from the Republican Members.
volves medical judgment, that plan, in and the Ford Foundation for their
The second piece of the bill liability
my opinion, should be subject to the work, the support that they provide to
package amends ERISA section 514 to
State laws, and recent Supreme Court research, the support that they provide
allow causes of action in State court
decisions and the 5th Circuit decision to community organizations and this
for a denial of a claim for benefits in-
upholding the Texas health plan liabil- country and around the world, to ad-
volving a medically reviewable deci-
ity would allow for the continued de- dress this disease.
sion that causes harm or death to a pa-
velopment of State laws. We also heard the gentlewoman from
tient. Mr. Speaker, I will summarize here. California (Ms. PELOSI) earlier talk
b 2100 There are a number of States that have about the people who preceded her and
Punitive damages are prohibited in passed health plan liability laws: Ari- we mentioned today how fortunate we
cases where the plan properly followed zona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, were as we came to Congress in 1997 to
the requirements of the appeal proc- Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, have the work of the gentlewoman
esses and followed the determination of Washington. The Ganske-Dingell bill, from California (Ms. PELOSI), the work
an external review. However, as in the the McCain-Edwards bill recognizes of the gentleman from Washington (Mr.
Federal cause of action, punitive dam- that. The bills that would move all li-
MCDERMOTT), Lou Stokes, and the gen-
ages are available in cases where there ability into Federal courts would pre-
tlewoman from California (Ms. WA-
is a clear and convincing evidence that empt those States. We provide a floor;
TERS), and many, many others to build
the plan exhibited a willful or wanton they preempt.
Finally, let me just say a word about upon.
disregard for the rights and safety of We have really seen a lot of wonder-
the employer protections, because we
others. ful advances in the last 20 years, but
have a significant compromise in this
I want to ask my colleagues some- we still have a lot more that has to be
bill from the last time around. The last
thing: Do we want to vote for a bill done. We have seen the identification
time around we said an employer could
that says if a plan exhibits willful or be liable if they exercise discretion or of what was then an unknown disease
wanton disregard for the safety or authority; and the business community to advanced therapies that have trans-
rights of others that they should not said, we think that that standard is a formed what was a death sentence to
have any responsibility? I mean, do little loose, so we changed it. We use now what is almost a chronic disease.
any of my colleagues want to bring a now a standard that was proposed by We have an improved quality of life for
bill to the floor that would say that if opponents to our bill last time that those who have been diagnosed with
a tire explodes and people are killed says, only if we directly participate HIV. They can live comfortable and
and that company that made that tire can one be held liable. quality lives rather than just having to
showed a willful and wanton disregard Mr. Speaker, there are very few that wait to die.
for the safety of the purchaser, that do that. We have a big bill coming up Mr. Speaker, I am going to turn this
they should not be liable? Well, I do for debate. I hope my friends and col- Special Order back to the gentleman
not know about my colleagues, but I leagues will look at this bill in detail. from Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ), and I will
sure do not want to go home and cam- f join him again later at the conclusion
paign with that on my record. of his comments.
In our bill, before exercising this AIDS EPIDEMIC Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, let
legal remedy, the patient has to ex- The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. me thank the gentlewoman from the
haust both internal and external ap- ISSA). Under the Speaker’s announced Virgin Islands. I know that from the
peals. But if the patient suffers irrep- policy of January 3, 2001, the gen- Black Caucus the gentlewoman has
arable harm or death prior to the com- tleman from Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ) is been working diligently, and as chair-
pletion of the review process, either recognized for 60 minutes. man of the Hispanic Caucus on Health,
June 5, 2001 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE H2877
I want to thank her specifically for the family to find playmates and people Probably the most negative thing
work that she has been doing on this that you hang out with. that I have seen in the last few years
issue and all issues on health, so I This particular cousin used to do my with respect to HIV and AIDS is that
thank the gentlewoman. I look forward hair at his own company, at his own the infection is growing highest and at
to continued dialogue. salon. He was a successful business- an alarming rate in the Hispanic com-
Let me just make a few comments. man, not too far away from where I munity across the Nation. In par-
We have other fellow colleagues that lived; and at one point he got sick. As ticular, women who believe they are in
are here with us today, but I want to AIDS progressed with him, I and many a monogamous relationship, i.e., they
take the opportunity to just say that it of the members of my family got to un- are married and they believe that they
is hard for me to believe that it has derstand what it was like then to live are okay, are the ones that we are see-
been 20 years, and as the sign back here under those conditions, and then for a ing most often the rate going up in the
says, ‘‘Twenty Years is Enough.’’ society that really did not understand rate of HIV, the HIV disease.
Twenty years later, HIV/AIDS has what HIV and what AIDS was about. So we have more to do. We need to
taken the lives of close to 22 million You would think that in a Hispanic get information out, and many of the
people worldwide. It is hard for me to culture, we are a little afraid of things people who work on HIV and AIDS in
also believe that 15 years ago, I was in like this, we do not like to talk about Orange County are working on cam-
the Texas legislature listening to my these things, but one of the great paigns to get the information out to
fellow colleague denounce the spending things that I think my cousin had was our minority communities.
money on AIDS prevention because of an ability to come together and to help I thank my colleague, the gentleman
narrow bigotry. In essence, he would with the situation. from Texas, for taking this hour. I
say, these people deserve it. I only I had a cousin who was an out- think this is a very important mile-
mention that because thank God that standing member, who was a great stone, but there is so much more to do
we have really come a long way from family person but, at the same time, still. I thank the gentleman.
that perspective, and I am proud to was a business owner. I saw him lose Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I
stand here today and see how far we his business because he could not work; thank the gentlewoman from Cali-
have come, although we have a lot and because he could not work, he lost fornia for her comments. There is no
more to do. the business. I saw him lose his home. doubt this is an area and issue that
I would like to recognize the count- I saw him go, and we would take him confronts our community.
less individuals and organizations that to the hospital sometimes with some The gentlewoman mentioned dis-
are out there working on issues such as affliction, and I saw doctors who were proportionately how it hits the His-
research on AIDS trends that affects afraid to treat him or would turn him panic population. There is no doubt
new drugs, the advocacy groups that down to treat him. I saw the red tape that we represent 13 percent of the pop-
are out there working, the advocacy and what it took to get him into a hos- ulation, yet we represent more than 20
groups that are working for children pital, to get him back on his feet. I saw percent of the new cases. So I want to
with AIDS, the foundation activities a society that did not understand what thank the gentlewoman for being here
that are raising awareness in the area was happening and refused to put the tonight.
of AIDS, the key components and the money and refused to treat somebody I yield to the gentlewoman from
global effort in the area of AIDS. The who had AIDS. I thought, you know, in California (Ms. WOOLSEY), and I thank
Hispanic Caucus, the Black Caucus and that last year of his life, here is some- the gentlewoman for being here to-
the Asian Pacific American Caucus are one who is dying, and the thing that night.
working together to find solutions to they should have most intact is a dig- Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank
specific communities of color also. As nity about life. I saw a world that did the gentleman from Texas for yielding
not understand and did not want to to me, and for putting this all to-
chairman of the Congressional His-
treat him with dignity. That was in gether. He has done us all a great favor
panic Caucus Task Force on Health, I
1990. this evening.
have had the opportunity to work with Now, I am glad to report that just
many of my friends and colleagues on Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, HIV and
this past month, we in Orange County AIDS was thought to affect only gay,
efforts to increase resources for AIDS cut the ribbon on Emanual House, a
prevention, education, and treatment. white men. Time has proved otherwise.
living house for 21 people who will
It affects the lives of the rich, the poor, We now know that HIV and AIDS does
come and live in an environment that
the famous, the not-so-famous, the not discriminate. It reaches out to
will be a positive environment for
blacks, the browns, the whites. It af- men, women, and children of all ages in
those who have HIV or have AIDS. It is
fects all of us. every social and economic group of
a great collaborative effort by home-
Let me take this opportunity, since every race and in every country in the
builders and by mercy housing and by
we have some of our colleagues here world.
one of the priesthoods there, Catholic
today, to recognize them. We have two I live in Petaluma, California. A good
priesthood in Orange County, to build
people from California, and I want to friend of mine was the first woman to
this home in a neighborhood, in a fam-
take the pleasure of recognizing the die of AIDS in Sonoma County 10 years
ily neighborhood in Santa Ana who
gentlewoman from California (Ms. ago. I can remember when the subject
worked with us and who welcome these
SANCHEZ), who also sits with me on the of AIDS first came up 10 years before
new residents who will come to this
Committee on Armed Services. I thank that. She and I had lunch together, and
beautiful, beautiful home called
the gentlewoman for being here this Emanual House. we were sitting and talking, and trying
evening, and I yield to the gentle- to figure out actually what this disease
woman. b 2115 was and how to prevent it, and why it
Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Speaker, I thank I have seen a change in the funding was spreading so rapidly around the
the gentleman from Texas (Mr. levels. I have seen a change in the country.
RODRIGUEZ), my fellow caucus member breakthroughs that we have had for Twenty years ago, people afflicted
from Texas. medicine for AIDS. I have seen even a with HIV-AIDS had little or no chance
Mr. Speaker, AIDS is something that change over the years in the walk for to enjoy a good quality of life. Thank-
tends to be pretty foreign to people AIDS that happened this past Sunday fully, scientific research has led to suc-
until it touches someone in your fam- in Orange County, where we had over cessful life-prolonging therapies, but
ily. In my particular case, in 1990 I had 15,000 people participate to walk on the epidemic is far, far from over.
a cousin, a very close cousin, who died Sunday morning, and where we raised I am proud to represent a district
of AIDS. This was a cousin that I used almost $1 million in Orange County, that is committed to fighting the
to visit every Sunday. In a Hispanic California, for research and for help on spread of the HIV virus. Marin and
family we tend to be very, very close; AIDS, to help these people who lose Sonoma Counties, the two counties
and your cousins tend to be the friends their jobs, who lose their homes, many just north of San Francisco across the
that you have. The family is so large, who still lose their families. It is a Golden Gate Bridge, have one of the
you never have to go outside of the very positive thing. Nation’s highest incidences of HIV/
H2878 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE June 5, 2001
AIDS. But these counties provide com- tistics: worldwide, 36 million people are We need to reach out to our citizens,
prehensive services for people living now infected, and 21.8 million have regardless of how we feel about their
with HIV/AIDS. They have consistently died, including 3 million last year. sexual orientation or their background.
pushed forward aggressive public policy Each year, 5.5 million new people are Our churches need to employ a
initiatives such as the needle exchange infected. That figure represents more nonjudgmental approach so that it is
programs. than 15,000 victims a year. easy for people in need to seek assist-
The boards of supervisors in both However, I wish to focus on my State ance from the church community. We
Marin and Sonoma Counties passed of North Carolina. According to figures cannot shut our doors because someone
needle exchange regulations and ac- from last year, North Carolina ranked does something or looks in a certain
ceptance when it was illegal in the 23rd among 50 States and the District way. Our churches should and must be
State of California. of Columbia in terms of the number of in the vanguard in addressing this
Advances in treatment, coupled with AIDS cases. Most North Carolina HIV issue.
effective public policy, remind us that disease reports highlight the male pop- Twenty years after AIDS, we know
good things happen when government ulation; 65.5 percent were African that this is no longer a gay disease. We
and the public health community work American, and 72.1 percent of them fell know it is not a disease that just af-
together, and when education is made between the ages of 30 and 39 years of fects an urban population. As the fig-
abundant so that people understand age. ures that I mentioned about my dis-
what they are up against, what the The statistics from my district are trict in North Carolina demonstrate,
challenges are, and what prevention even more unsettling. African Ameri- this disease is affecting rural citizens
must be taken. cans accounted for 87 percent of cases in record rates without the appropriate
Today we must recall the lessons we reported in my district in 2000. I will infrastructure or resources to address
have learned in the 20-year-long fight let the Members know that African it, particularly among African Ameri-
against HIV/AIDS, and pledge to build Americans only represent 50.6 percent cans.
upon that knowledge to take us for- of my district. I am hopeful that before the onset of
ward, not backward. The treatment of I have spoken with many people who a 25th anniversary of this devastating
HIV/AIDS has changed, but its fatal presently are suffering from HIV/AIDS, disease, a vaccine will be available and
consequences have not. as well as health care providers, case- accessible. I am hoping that before the
It is time to reeducate our Nation. A workers, representatives from commu- 25th anniversary occurs, the number of
new generation faces the threat of HIV/ nity-based organizations in my con- the newly affected will be greatly di-
AIDS, a generation that never knew gressional district. I have heard mov- minished. I am hopeful before the 25th
the devastation that this disease cre- ing testimony about the lack of re- anniversary occurs also that the world-
ates. We must not allow them to repeat sources to adequately address this pub- wide pandemic of HIV/AIDS will have a
the mistakes that contributed to the lic health crisis. There is a great need death blow to far less individuals. We
rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the first to focus on prevention and accessible have already lost 21 million people to
place. and affordable treatment. this pandemic. I am hopeful that good
Nor can individuals currently receiv- According to a recent article in the news indeed is on the horizon. I thank
ing HIV/AIDS therapies believe that New York Times, while AIDS no longer the gentleman for bringing this to the
their medications are in any way a makes the Federal government’s list of attention of the American people.
cure. That challenge still awaits us. the 15 leading causes of death in the Mr. RODRIGUEZ. I thank the gentle-
Until then, we must exercise every pre- United States, it is the leading cause woman from North Carolina for being
caution to slow the spread of this dis- among African Americans ages 25 here tonight, and I thank her for the
ease. through 35. HIV infections are rising words she has said. As she talked about
As we debate HIV/AIDS policy and more among heterosexual women, par- the fact that we have reached a point
funding, we must be motivated by the ticularly in the rural south, where Fed- where it impacts a whole bunch of
many changes that still lie ahead. If we eral health officials say an influx of other people, one of the worst statis-
do, we will accomplish more in the crack and the sex-for-drug trade is tics to see is that minority children
next 5 years than we did in the last 20 fueling the spread of the virus. make up an astonishing 82 percent of
years. And Mr. Speaker, we must, be- Treatment and prevention comes in the new AIDS cases. These are our chil-
cause lives depend on it. all forms as fighting this disease takes dren that are being hard hit.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I a comprehensive approach. We know I yield to the gentlewoman from the
thank the gentlewoman from Cali- that HIV/AIDS has affected many peo- Virgin Islands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN).
fornia (Ms. WOOLSEY) for coming out ple through the practice of those ad- Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker, I
here. dicted to drugs exchanging used nee- thank the gentleman from Texas for
We have gotten so much interest that dles. We need to address the drug ad- yielding to me. It is great to see how
we have a good number of people out diction problem. We need to focus on many people are coming out to address
here, so I want to take this oppor- prevention of drugs. We need to have a this issue. It is the tip of the iceberg
tunity to yield to the gentlewoman needle exchange program that makes for the real concern and commitment
from North Carolina (Mrs. CLAYTON). sense. that many of our colleagues, particu-
Mrs. CLAYTON. Mr. Speaker, I We need to give all American a larly those in both the Hispanic and
thank the gentleman for yielding to healthy start so that risky behavior Black Caucus, have to addressing this
me, and I thank my colleagues who or- such as drug use and abuse and pros- disease in our communities and really
ganized this with the gentleman from titution can be decreased. A decrease around the world.
Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ), who chairs the in this unhealthy and risky behavior I wanted to make mention of some of
Hispanic Caucus Health Task Force, can help prevent the spread of HIV and the things that have been said. The
and the gentlewoman from the Virgin AIDS, and other STDs will also be di- gentlewoman from California (Ms.
Islands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN), the Chair minished. SANCHEZ) talked about her family
of the Congressional Black Caucus In the same article mentioned ear- member. In these 20 years that have
Health Brain Trust. I thank the gen- lier, it stated that AIDS in this coun- passed since the first cases were re-
tleman for organizing this very impor- try is increasingly an epidemic of the ported, there is hardly a family that
tant special order on HIV and AIDS. poor, which means it is increasingly an has not been touched by this disease.
Mr. Speaker, this week is the 20th epidemic of minorities. African Ameri- In those 20 years, over 750,000 persons
anniversary of the discovery of the cans, who make up just 13 percent of have been diagnosed and reported with
virus. After 20 years, a vaccine is still the population, now account for more AIDS, and about half a million have
not on hand, and 20 years later, the Af- than one-half; 13 percent, but one-half died. These are all people who are
rican American population is dis- of all HIV infections. brothers, sisters, wives, mothers. We
proportionately affected by this virus. We need to get our churches in- cannot forget, as we look at the large
Mr. Speaker, my colleagues have volved. In the African American com- numbers, that these are human beings
mentioned some of the devastating sta- munity, the church is the focal point. that all have people who care about
June 5, 2001 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE H2879
them and love them, and are affected the efforts that we have made collabo- radio station. With their general man-
when they are infected. ratively together. I am very proud to ager, we have created a whole series of
The gentlewoman from North Caro- have joined the gentlewoman from sessions or fares or programs or efforts
lina (Mrs. CLAYTON) talked about our California (Ms. LEE), one of the speak- throughout the community to focus on
rural areas. That is an area that needs ers that will come forward, and those testing, HIV testing. Have you been
some special attention, because a lot of of us on the floor of the House as we tested? Therefore we are going around
the programs that we do have and have worked on issues like debt relief and the community focusing on, encour-
brought about in these 20 years address also the Marshall plan. aging people to be tested privately, of
the larger urban areas, but our rural But as we have done that, we are con- course; and we are doing that in con-
areas are left out. That is a challenge tinuing to work and to talk about junction with the City of Houston
for us as we go into the next decade. questions of prescription drugs or the health department.
The gentlewoman mentioned the nee- issue of being able to provide generic I want to thank Dr. Kendricks and
dle exchange. We talked about the fact drugs in a way that all people can have Marilee P. Brown for acknowledging
that we went to the Kaiser Family access to them. and declaring Houston as an emergency
Foundation and Ford Foundation sym- Particularly, I want to note that this center, an emergency crisis, if you will,
posium today, and one of the things is a worldwide issue. Though we have regarding AIDS about a year ago. Out
that they report in their survey is that highlighted the continent of Africa, of that, the consciousness of people in
more than 58 percent of the people that knowing that 40 million children by the community have been raised up to
they surveyed, a good statistical com- 2005 will be orphaned by those who are begin to talk about it in the religious
ponent that represents the American HIV infected and will have died in sub- community as well as throughout the
public, 58 percent supported needle ex- Sahara Africa, I also realize that this community.
change programs. disease is spreading to India, it is Our churches are engaged in talking
b 2130 spreading to China, some of the largest about how do we prevent the infection
population centers in the world. If we of HIV/AIDS, because we are finding
Because we understand that it does were to take it back home, it is par-
prevent the spread of AIDS; therefore that it is being promoted or it is being
ticularly devastating to note that encouraged by economic, cultural,
it prevents sickness and death. Many women are the highest numbers of HIV
studies have proven, I think, conclu- legal and religious factors where people
infected, particularly African-Amer- have no control of it.
sively that it does not increase the ican women and Latino women.
tendency to drug abuse, and indeed it About a quarter of all women report
It is important to note that States postponing medical care due to barriers
brings people into treatment further. where one would not think or would
So I turn it back over to the gen- such as sickness or lack of transpor-
possibly begin to want to isolate tation or lack of health care. It is trag-
tleman from Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ). States, so that is an urban problem
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, no- ic to know that research, prevention
versus a rural problem, there are over efforts, education, substance abuse
body knows this issue better than the 50,000 reported AIDS cases in Texas
gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands treatment, and prevention programs
alone. Over half of these are among
(Mrs. CHRISTENSEN), being a practi- need to be targeted towards women, es-
blacks and Hispanics or over 50 percent
tioner also. I want to thank her for her pecially African-American and His-
of those with AIDS.
hard work. In my district in particular in Texas, panic women. So we need culturally
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker, as African Americans represent a stag- sensitive programs. The same thing in
a social worker, the gentleman from gering 64 percent reportable HIV infec- India and China as it moves through-
Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ) has had a lot of tions and 57 percent of the total cases out the world, culturally sensitive pro-
experience with it as well. That is why diagnosed in 2000. Even more fright- grams.
we are glad to be able to collaborate ening statistics is the fact that 84 per- When we went to Africa, one of the
with him on these and other health cent of the adolescents with reportable issues that we discussed in Zambia and
care issues. HIV infection are African American. Uganda was programs that related to
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, we Women represent an estimated 30 the culture of Africans so that they
are looking forward to working with percent of new HIV infections in the would be eager to come and find out in-
the gentlewoman. United States and a growing share of formation.
Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentle- newly reported AIDS cases each year. When I was in Botswana just a few
woman from Houston, Texas (Ms. JACK- In 1986, women accounted for 67 percent weeks ago, we found a center where a
SON-LEE). She is a dynamic person, al- of the new AIDS cases. By 1999, women gentleman living with HIV/AIDS was
ways on the issues, and we thank her accounted for nearly a quarter of all the chief spokesperson and outreach
for being here tonight. AIDS cases in this country. Worldwide, coordinator. He was able to speak to
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. women account for 42 percent of all his fellow Botswanans about the impor-
Speaker, let me thank the gentleman AIDS cases which is nearly triple the tance of prevention, but also testing
from Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ) for his number 10 years ago. Although African and removing the shackles and the bar-
leadership, leadership of being chair of Americans and Latinos represent less riers from that. Clearly, much remains
the Hispanic Caucus Health Com- than a fourth of all women in the to be done to fight the disease, and
mittee, the work he has done. We have United States, they account for more many look to African-American lead-
done work together on immunization than a third of all reported AIDS cases. ers in Congress for this guidance.
and children’s health issues. I thank Women in the 18th district of Texas A New York Times columnist re-
the gentlewoman from the Virgin Is- and throughout Texas have not escaped cently demanded that the so-called
lands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN) who chairs the epidemic. The percentage of Texas leaders of the black community, the
the Congressional Black Caucus Task women with AIDS increased from 14.3 politicians, the heads of civil rights or-
Force on Health. percent to 15.4 percent just between ganizations, the preachers step forward
It is important that we are here 1997 and 1999. and say in thundering tones that it is
today. But I imagine that all of us It is important just to lay these par- time to bring an end to this destructive
would wish that we were not. I think, ticular issues on the table because I behavior.
as evidenced by our message ‘‘20 years hope that, as we emphasize 20 years of Let me answer that by saying we are
of AIDS is enough’’, it points to the AIDS is enough, again I say that we all collectively standing up in the
fact that we are only here to be able to focus on where do we go in the future. fight. What we must do is collaborate
highlight the need for greater focus What we have tried to do, Mr. Speak- with government to be able to have the
and emphasis and recognition that it is er, is to talk about prevention and to resources and create the research and
not my problem, it is our problem. It is break down the barriers that keep peo- have the CDC continue to do its work
not his problem or her problem, it is ple from understanding what AIDS is along with the NIH on finding a cure
our problem. and how it can be prevented. for AIDS.
I will try to focus on where do we go So in my community, let me applaud Our voices have risen, and we need to
from here and some of the things and a number of initiatives by Magic 102, a be listened to. In this Congress, as we
H2880 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE June 5, 2001
begin to appropriate dollars, as we ap- certainly none of us welcomes now—the 20th African Americans have been hardest hit
propriate the Ryan White treatment year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Instead of the women. Latinas have also been heavily af-
dollars, for all of us, we must ensure eradication of the disease, we continue to face fected. Although African Americans and
that those dollars will reach out to cul- 40,000 new infections per year, an increase in Latinas represent less than a fourth of all
turally sensitive organizations such as the disease among women, an infection rate women in the U.S., they account for more
the Donald Watkins organization in at plague proportions in Africa and a possible than a third of all reported AIDS cases.
Houston that responds to the needs of upswing in the disease among gay men. It has Women in the 18th District of Texas, and
our particular cultural communities left behind people such as David Swem at throughout Texas, have not escaped this epi-
along with all of our others. Houston, who at 6 feet and a mere 1221⁄2 demic. The percentage of Texas women with
Let me close by mentioning a gen- pounds, has been able to fight AIDs since his AIDS has increased from 14.3 percent to 15.4
tleman in my community that I pay diagnosis in 1987 by taking 50 pills per day. percent just between 1997 and 1999, 1999
tribute to as a symbol of someone who But he has lost about 300 friends to the dis- being the last full year for which data is avail-
has lived with AIDS and fights it every ease. I will continue to cry out about this dis- able. In my district, currently about 27 percent
day. David Swem in Houston, who is at ease until it no longer exists. of new HIV infections are among African-
6 feet tall and a mere 1221⁄2 pounds has More people have died from HIV/AIDs over American women. A staggering 82 percent of
been able to fight AIDS, and he has the last twenty years than from any other dis- all HIV infections among women were in the
been fighting it since his diagnosis in ease in history—21.8 million people. In this African-American community. Similarly, 79
1987 by taking 50 pills per day. That is country we have been able to slow the rate of percent of the reported AIDS cases in women
overwhelming that that is what has to AIDS’ deaths, but the disease is at crisis pro- were among African-American women.
happen for people who are living with portions in sub-Saharan Africa, where four- Despite these steady increases in HIV/AIDS
AIDS. That is why it is so very impor- fifths of those deaths have occurred—an aver- cases among both women and children, fund-
tant for prevention and so very impor- age of one death every eight seconds. The ing for these groups has decreased. In
tant ultimately to find a cure. Houston Chronicle reports that 95 percent of FY1999, women and youth received 2.87 mil-
Might I also say, as noted by the gen- all AIDS cases are in the developing world, lion in funding via Title IV of the Ryan White
tlewoman from North Carolina (Mrs. and that this strain of AIDS could cause a CARE act, and 2.72 million in FY2000.
CLAYTON), as chair of the Congressional drastic explosion if it jumps to the Western Many factors exacerbate women’s risk of
Children’s Caucus, there is nothing world. More than 70 percent of all people liv- HIV infection. Many women, particularly in
more devastating than an HIV-infected ing with the disease, or 25.3 million HIV-posi- areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, are espe-
child or a child that has full-blown tive individuals, live in Africa. Over 10 percent cially vulnerable to HIV infection because eco-
AIDS. of the population is infected in sixteen African nomic, cultural, legal or religious factors may
Nkosi Johnson in South Africa, a limit control over their lives and their ability to
nations. The U.S. Census Bureau calculates
young man that we got to know some
that by 2010, average life expectancy will be protect themselves from infection, or to gain
2 years or so ago, recently died just a
reduced by 40 years in Zimbabwe and Bot- access to treatment. About a quarter of all
week or so ago, born with HIV from an
swana, and in South Africa by 30 years. The women report postponing medical care due to
HIV mother, transmitted through that
disease destabilizes these nations by deci- barriers such as sickness or lack of transpor-
HIV mother who could not take care of
mating its workforce, destroying any economic tation.
him, adopted by a loving South African
prosperity, depleting its military and peace- What more needs to be done? Research,
Nkosi became the symbol of a pre- keeping forces and leaving thousands of or- prevention efforts and education and sub-
cocious child who wanted to stand up phans. stance abuse treatment and prevention pro-
and tell the world that he deserved dig- The epidemic is not limited to Africa. In- grams must be targeted towards women, es-
nity although he lived with full-blown deed, the fastest growing front of the epidemic pecially in the African-American and Hispanic
AIDS. Children such as Nkosi should be is now in Russia, where the number of new in- communities. These programs should include
enjoying a life filled with joy and fections last year exceeded the total from all research into female-controlled barrier meth-
laughter and happiness. Mandela said previous years combined. In 2000, the number ods, prevention efforts targeting young
in a recent statement, ‘‘On a fright- of Russians living with HIV/AIDS skyrocketed women, early comprehensive sex education
ening scale, HIV/AIDS is replacing that from 130,000 to 300,000. and substance abuse treatment and preven-
joy, laughter and happiness with para- The statistics are alarming in this country as tion programs targeted to women.
lyzing pain.’’ well. In its June 1, 2001 report, the CDC noted We can also take an example from places
Nkosi collapsed with brain damage that AIDS in the United States remains pri- such as the Thomas Street Clinic in Houston,
and viral infections. But before that, in marily an epidemic affecting gay men and ra- the nation’s first freestanding HIV/AIDS treat-
his short life, he contested the policies cial and ethic minorities. Rates are high ment facility. Thomas Street Clinic provides
that kept HIV-infected children out of among minorities because factors such as patients with access to a full range of serv-
public schools in South Africa. He high poverty rates, unemployment, and lack ices, including medical services, counseling,
talked about his infection, challenging off access to health care form barriers to HIV housing, job placement assistance and child
people to reexamine their fear of those testing, diagnosis and treatment. The CDC care. This clinic is a model for our nation, par-
inflicted with AIDS. He spoke at the study also noted the alarming figure of an in- ticularly for providers in disadvantaged, urban
World AIDS Conference in South Afri- fection rate of 14 percent of young black gay and minority areas.
ca, woke our collective consciouses up, or bisexual men, based on a study in seven Clearly, much remains to be done to fight
and began to acknowledge that it was cities. the disease, and many look to African Amer-
important to be able to fight this dis- There are over 50,000 reported AIDS cases ican leaders in Congress for this guidance.
ease in dignity. in Texas alone, and over half of these are I am here to say that we are here, and we
To Nkosi Johnson, in his loss, a among blacks and Hispanics are over 50 per- are pleading for an end to behaviors that lead
South African child but a child of the cent of those with AIDS. In my district in to HIV/AIDS, for better health care, for more
world, I believe that it should be our Texas, African Americans represent a stag- funding for research, treatment and prevention
tribute tonight that 20 years of HIV/ gering 64 percent of reportable HIV infections and for desperately needed social services for
AIDS, full-blown AIDS is enough. and 57 percent of the total cases diagnosed in those whose lives have been upended by the
So to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 2000. An even more frightening statistic is the infection. Congress cannot fight this disease
RODRIGUEZ) and the gentlewoman from fact that 84 percent of the adolescents with re- alone, but we are firmly committed to the bat-
the Virgin Islands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN), portable HIV infection are African-American. tle.
might I say that tonight, as we speak Women represent an estimated 30 percent Mr. Speaker, I include the following
in acknowledgment of 20 years of HIV of new HIV infections in the United States and article for the RECORD as follows:
infection in this country and discovery a growing share of newly reported AIDS cases [From the Washington Post, June 2, 2001]
of the AIDS virus, that we also commit each year. In 1986, women accounted for 7 NKOSI JOHNSON, 12, DIES; S. AFRICAN AIDS
ourselves, if we will, to continued legis- percent of new AIDS cases. By 1999, women ACTIVIST
lative initiatives that collectively accounted for nearly a quarter of all new AIDS BOY BORN WITH HIV URGED OPENNESS
fights this devastating disease. cases in this country. Worldwide, women ac- (By Susanna Loof)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today on an occasion count for 42 percent of all AIDS cases, which JOHANNESBURG.—Nkosi Johnson, who was
that perhaps none of us foresaw in 1981 and is nearly triple the number ten years ago. born with HIV and became an outspoken
June 5, 2001 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE H2881
champion of others infected with the AIDs things that was mentioned by one of HIV infections than the white commu-
virus, died Friday of complications of the the doctors was that she had a par- nity.
disease he battled for all 12 of his years. ticular client that was told, and only
Nkosi was praised for his openness about b 2145
his infection in a country where people sus- knew Spanish, and was told that she
was positive. She understood that as— Ms. LEE. And we learned that this
pected of carrying the AIDS virus often are
shunned by their families and chased from (the gentleman from Texas spoke in disease was a global pandemic. It is dis-
their communities. Former South African Spanish). She went ahead and had chil- proportionately affecting people of
president Nelson Mandela called him an dren. One of her children would up with color, Latinos, African Americans. It is
‘‘icon of the struggle for life.’’ AIDS. The importance of cultural sen- devastating the continent of Africa,
‘‘Children, such as Nkosi Johnson, should the Caribbean, Latin America, and it is
be enjoying a life filled with joy and laugh-
sitivity and language understanding I
think is key. a ticking time bomb in many devel-
ter and happiness,’’ Mandela said in a recent
I want to thank the gentlewoman oping countries.
statement. ‘‘On a frightening scale, HIV/
AIDS is replacing that joy, laughter and hap- from Texas for the other comments The most important lesson we have
piness with paralyzing pain and trauma.’’ that she made. One of the key things I learned is that HIV can be prevented
Nkosi collapsed in December with brain think that is important also is to un- and it starts with breaking the silence.
damage and viral infections. His foster moth- derstand that this is devastating And once again I want to commend my
er, Gail Johnson, said he died peacefully in colleagues for helping us do that once
his sleep in the morning.
throughout all our communities, not
only in this country, but throughout again tonight on the floor of Congress.
‘‘It is a great pity that this young man has
died. He was very bold,’’ Mandela said Fri- the world when we look at sub-Sahara Now, in my district in Alameda
day. Africa, when we look at the province in County, California, HIV/AIDS has dis-
During his short life, Nkosi successfully China, when we look at Brazil, when we proportionately affected the African
contested the policies that kept HIV-infected look at the border in Mexico. American community. While the num-
children out of public schools. He talked So it is a disease, it is a world dis- ber of new diagnoses for virtually every
about his infection, challenging people to re- segment of the population was declin-
examine their fear of those afflicted with
ease. It is a disease that we need to go
fight it wherever it is and that applies ing, it was rapidly moving in the oppo-
‘‘He had an awareness of the threat to his to all the infectious diseases, and that site direction for African Americans in
life and the importance of his life in less- is very important. Alameda County and also for the
ening the threat to other people with AIDS,’’ Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentle- Latino community.
Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cam- woman from California (Ms. LEE) who According to data provided by the Al-
eron, who is also infected with the virus, told is here with us, and we continue to get ameda Department of Health and
the Associated Press in January. people that are coming in. I am real Human Services in 1998, nearly 60 per-
Parliament passed motions Friday
pleased to see the number. cent of the new HIV infections were oc-
expessing regret and sadness at Nkosi’s
death, and the Congress of South African Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise this curring among African Americans,
Trade Unions said Nkosi ‘‘inspired all people evening to join my colleagues to ac- even though African Americans ac-
suffering from the disease.’’ knowledge the 20th anniversary of the count for only 18 percent of the coun-
Nkosi was born Feb. 4, 1989, with the virus first HIV/AIDS diagnosis in the United ty’s population. Of the new infections
that causes AIDS. His mother could not af- States. I first want to thank the gen- in Alameda County, a growing number
ford to bring him up, and Johnson became tleman from Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ), of infections are occurring among
his foster mother when he was 2. Nkosi’s women. Through a community-wide
mother died of AIDS-related diseases in 1997.
my fellow social worker, and the gen-
That same year, Johson and Nkosi success- tlewoman from the Virgin Islands (Mrs. initiative, a state of emergency task
fully battled to force a public primary school CHRISTENSEN), our physician, who is force was formed, and on November 4,
to admit him. The fight led to a policy for- leading this very valiant effort on be- 1998, the Alameda County Public
bidding schools to discriminate against HIV- half of the Congressional Hispanic Cau- Health Officer declared a public health
positive children and to guidelines for how cus and the Congressional Black Cau- emergency on AIDS in Alameda Coun-
schools should treat infected pupils. cus, because I believe in unity that we ty’s African American community.
Nkosi became internationally known with
will win. So I am very sober tonight This designation led to Alameda
a speech at the opening of the 13th Inter-
national AIDS conference last July in Dur- and very humbled by the joint efforts County’s designation by the Depart-
ban, South Africa, in which he asked that that we are mounting. I want to thank ment of Health and Human Services as
AIDS sufferers no longer be stigmatized. them for their leadership in this. one of the 20 targeted metropolitan
Nkosi helped raise money for Nkosi’s Twenty years ago, the world learned statistical areas and the disposition of
Haven, a Johannesburg Shelter for HIV-posi- about a new disease. All that was a crisis response team to aid in this ef-
tive women and their children. He was known then was that this disease de- fort. And I would suggest to my col-
crushed when a 3-month-old baby his foster
stroyed the human immune system, leagues in the Congressional Black
mother cared for died of AIDS-related ill-
nesses. and its ultimate outcome was un- Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic
‘‘He hated seeing sick babies and sick chil- known. Unfortunately, because this Caucus to challenge your counties to
dren,’’ Johnson said. disease emerged in the United States declare states of emergencies, because
The experience led to his speech at the primarily in the gay community, very this is what we have on our hands and
AIDS conference, where he urged the South little was done to curb the rate of new we should have nothing less than a for-
African Government to start providing HIV- mally declared state of public health
infections because, quite frankly, of
positive pregnant women with drugs to re-
duce the risk of transmission of the virus political policies during the Ronald emergency where this pandemic is
during childbirth. About 200 HIV-positive Reagan era. That is when we began to wreaking havoc on our communities.
children are born in South Africa each day, really wonder about this disease. But Also, because of this designation,
but most die before they reach school age. we did not do much then. We put our several community-based organiza-
A year later, the government is still study- head in the sand. tions and AIDS service providers in my
ing proposals to use the drugs. Since then, we have learned that this district have been awarded additional
Johnson said Nkosi did more for AIDS suf-
disease could be transmitted through resources, not enough, but additional
ferers in South Africa than anyone else.
‘‘Nkosi wanted people to know that in- exposure to HIV-infected blood. We resources to assist them in bringing
fected people, and especially children, de- learned that transmissions were occur- our local crisis to an end. In the 3 years
serve everything in the world,’’ she said. ring through unprotected sex with since Alameda County declared a pub-
‘‘His legacy is that we will care for them.’’ HIV-infected partners. We learned that lic health emergency, HIV and AIDS
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I transmissions were occurring through prevention efforts have been widely ex-
thank very much the gentlewoman blood transfusions where HIV-tainted panded, and it is working. Some of our
from Texas (Ms. JACKSON-LEE). I want blood products were used. We learned community-based organizations are re-
to thank her also because I think she that exposure to HIV was occurring porting that they are now able to reach
mentioned some real key issues. One of through shared needles and intra- many highly vulnerable populations,
them deals with cultural sensitivity. venous drug use. We learned that in the such as sex workers, the incarcerated
I recall back when we had some testi- United States, poor minority commu- populations, and youth to provide HIV
mony regarding AIDS, one of the nities were at a greater risk for new and AIDS prevention and education.
H2882 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE June 5, 2001
The Highland Hospital and the Magic CHRISTENSEN), for her leadership in son. Because we have youngsters who
Johnson AIDS Clinic have expanded bringing to the attention of the Con- were 13 then, they are 17 now, and they
their care and treatment services, in- gress and of bringing our two caucuses did not learn it then. We cannot as-
cluding providing lifesaving anti- together to focus on where AIDS has sume that this lesson has ever been
retroviral treatments to people living spread and the changing face and color taught.
with AIDS that were not receiving of AIDS. In the Congress, my colleagues know
these treatment services because they I want to thank the gentleman from that we have been successful with the
could not afford them. They are now Texas especially for being at the Sun- new treatments, and there may be
receiving them, and this has happened day 20-year celebration, because I some irony in that. It costs $10,000 to
in the last 3 years. AIDS organizations think his speaking and my speaking $12,000 a year per person. This is a pre-
and the county health department have made the point we are trying to make ventable disease. That is not the best
been able to step up their surveillance here, and that is that this disease has use for the health care dollars in our
efforts in order to have a more clear changed radically in 20 years and we communities or in our country. We
picture of who in Alameda County re- are here this evening to make that must teach the lesson of prevention so
mains at high risk for contracting point. I appreciate that there will be the health care dollars are not used for
AIDS. other Members, so I will, therefore, preventable diseases, but more often
According to the Alameda County speak rapidly. for many who suffer in our commu-
Department of Health and Human The theme of what I want to say is nities and our country from diseases
Services, in 1997, the risk for African that after 20 years, we owe it to the al- we still do not understand.
Americans to contract HIV was five most million who have been infected in We have been unwilling to get at the
times higher as compared to whites. In this country, almost half of them dead explicit nature of the education that
2000, that number has decreased to 4 to of the disease, to stress prevention over needs to take place. This is a country
1. This is slowly decreasing. And it is a every other issue, because this is in- that does not mind talking about sex
deed a preventable disease. Members very explicitly. We show sex, the sex
positive sign, but it is not zero yet.
know the fight I have personally had in act, to young children on TV in the
And that is where we want it. Increases
my own district just to get needle ex- daytime, but we will not talk about
in funding for surveillance have showed
change, something that every sci-
that women account for 12 percent of condoms, we will not talk about safe
entific organization believes is an im-
all AIDS cases in Alameda County. sex, we will not explain that to chil-
portant way to prevent AIDS, espe-
However, what was not known was that dren. If we are not explicit about sex to
cially since today 30 percent of the new
the incidence of transmission of AIDS teens, they are not listening to us.
cases are women. That is something
through heterosexual sex is 47 percent. They get those messages from their
that is radically different from 20 years
Now, this year, the administration’s media. They need to get it from us so
ago. And these women, of course, are
budget actually flat-funded our domes- that we can prevent this preventable
getting AIDS largely through infected
tic HIV and AIDS programs, including disease.
the minority health initiative, which The fact that at a time when we need Our goals, as we continue the fight 20
was led by the Congressional Black to be turning our attention to the de- years later, are laid out for us. Upgrade
Caucus, and we put in many hours, veloping world, and many of us in the the downgraded White House AIDS Of-
many years of work under the leader- Congressional Black Caucus, for exam- fice, search for a cure, search for a vac-
ship of the gentlewoman from the Vir- ple, have been working on AIDS in Af- cine, get prescription drugs, get needle
gin Islands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN), and we rica because the continent is being de- exchange, fight for hate crimes legisla-
must not let this be reversed back to voured by the disease, the whole notion tion, and for ENDA. But, above all, re-
the days when our heads were in the that we would have to turn back to member those who died before the mes-
sand. teach some of the lessons of 20 years sage of safe sex was even understood,
The United States must move for- ago is absolutely heartbreaking. Parts and remember those who died before
ward, and we must not become compla- of our community, particularly His- there were protease inhibitors.
cent. We must increase funding for panics and blacks, were never reached The only way to remember them is
HIV/AIDS education and treatment because they were never targeted. One not simply by grieving for them, and
programs, and we must advocate for of the reasons they were not targeted tonight we do grieve for them, but by
the highest level of funding possible to is because of the opprobrium that at- pledging to them that we will move to
address our domestic AIDS crisis. Yes, tended AIDS because it was seen as a make sure that the 20-year anniversary
20 years of AIDS is really enough. Let homosexual disease. is the beginning of yet another down-
us wipe it out. In both our communities there is turn in the prevalence of this disease
Mr. Speaker, I yield back and want homophobia. And we in the Congres- and that we ourselves will lead the
to once again thank the Congressional sional Black Caucus and in the Con- downturn by making that message
Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional gressional Hispanic Caucus have an ob- clear not only in this Congress but in
Black Caucus for again breaking the si- ligation to stand against homophobia our own communities.
lence. first and foremost so that people can Again, I thank both of my colleagues
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I come out and understand that this dis- for the service they have rendered the
thank very much the gentlewoman ease can be prevented and so that they Congress and the Nation this evening.
from California (Ms. LEE). can acknowledge the need for safe sex. Mr. RODRIGUEZ. I want to thank
Next, Mr. Speaker, I want to ask our But today we are having to teach the the gentlewoman once again. It was
District of Columbia representative lessons to black and Hispanic gays that real exciting to be out there with those
(Ms. NORTON) to come over. I had the we taught, we thought, to white gays marchers that came in on Sunday. It
pleasure of being with her on Sunday 20 years ago, because the lessons were was a great opportunity to participate
on the lawn where we had a march that not learned by them. and to begin to bring to light the fact
came in. We had several hundred people We have one of the best, indeed a that we still continue to fight on this
that came in, and it was a pleasure world-renowned AIDS clinic here, the issue. The Center for Disease Control
there being with the gentlewoman. I Whitman-Walker Clinic. It should be has estimated that we still have over
know that we had a large number of downsizing. Instead of reaching to 900,000 people in the United States that
people trying to bring the news about white gay and bisexual men it is now are infected with AIDS.
the fact that 20 years is enough, and so having to reach to black gay and bisex- I also want to take this opportunity
I thank her for being here tonight with ual men. How heartbreaking it was to to recognize one of my colleagues from
us. read that gay men in San Francisco, Texas, the chairman of the Congres-
Ms. NORTON. Well, let me first the most conscious gay population in sional Hispanic Caucus, and to thank
thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. the world, is having an uptick in the him for his leadership in the caucus
RODRIGUEZ), and I want to thank my epidemic. These are white gays. and for his being here tonight.
good colleague as well, the gentle- What this teaches us is that every 3 Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I want to
woman from the Virgin Islands (Mrs. or 4 years we better teach the same les- thank my colleague, the gentleman
June 5, 2001 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE H2883
from Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ), chair of The Congressional Hispanic, Black, legislation we are putting forth today
the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Asian Pacific Caucuses have re- is bearing the fruit of that.
Health Task Force, for all his hard sponded to the need for targeted initia- I join the gentleman in putting forth
work and leadership on this issue and tives by collaborating to establish the the $540 million request for the Minor-
other issues that affect his community Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, which ity AIDS Initiative. I do not want any-
and minority communities all across addresses the critical need for preven- body to think that any minority access
the country. The gentleman has dem- tion and care resources in communities to AIDS is only to that pot of money.
onstrated true passion and determina- of color, where the majority of new That is the entry level to the bigger
tion in ensuring that the health needs AIDS cases are occurring. pot of money. So it opens the door to
of Hispanics and all minorities all Our caucuses, along with other pol- all of the other billions of dollars that
across the country are met. icymakers, health care professionals are available. It is necessary to have
In addition, I want to thank the gen- and advocates will continue to work to that door opening, and I thank my col-
tlewoman from Texas (Ms. EDDIE BER- increase Federal spending for HIV/ leagues for that.
NICE JOHNSON), the gentlewoman from AIDS programs, such as the Minority Mr. Speaker, I did have an oppor-
the Virgin Islands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN), AIDS Initiative and Ryan White Care tunity to speak on the floor earlier
of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Act. I urge my colleagues to support today on this, but I wanted to com-
the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. WU) the $540 million request for fiscal year mend the caucuses for their leadership
and the gentleman from Guam (Mr. 2002 for Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative on this; and I look forward to working
UNDERWOOD), of the Congressional and other resources needed in the fight with them as an appropriator and as a
Asian Pacific American Caucus, for against this deadly disease. These re- member of one of the caucuses, for in-
their leadership and collaboration that sources must be dramatically increased creased funding, for improving the
has brought us here today to reflect on to keep pace with the changing epi- quality of life, and for ending this ter-
the importance of this date. demic and to work toward the elimi- rible pandemic.
As chair of the Congressional His- nation of both the health disparities Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I
panic Caucus, I am here to commemo- between ethnic and racial groups and want to ask the gentlewoman from the
rate the first reported AIDS cases in the disease all together. Virgin Islands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN) if
our country some 20 years ago. On this Again I thank my colleagues, the she would like to make any closing re-
date, we not only remember those who gentleman from Texas (Mr. RODRIGUEZ) marks.
have died and those whose lives are and the gentlewoman from the Virgin Mrs. Christensen. Mr. Speaker, there
being affected by HIV/AIDS but also to Islands (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN). is one area of the world which has been
continue to raise awareness about the Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I left out of this discussion tonight, and
devastating impact this disease has thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. that is the Caribbean. It is second only
had on minority communities across REYES), who has been very instru- to Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of the
the country. mental in pushing for an additional rates of HIV and AIDS. 35 percent of
According to the Centers for Disease $540 million, and I thank the gen- those infected are women compared to
Control and Prevention, AIDS has tleman for taking the leadership. Both 23 percent in this country, and that
taken the lives of more than 21 million the Hispanic and Black Caucus will be number is rising. It is the leading cause
people around the world, including holding hearings next week on this of death between the ages of 15 and 44.
450,000 Americans, since it was first di- issue, and we will continue to move Mr. Speaker, of the United States
agnosed in 1981. An estimated 1 million forward. territories in the Caribbean, both the
Americans have been infected since the Mr. Speaker, tonight we have the dis- Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are in
virus began spreading quickly in the tinct pleasure of having the gentle- the top five in terms of incidence for
early 1980s through unprotected sex, in- woman from California (Ms. PELOSI). AIDS. I want to make sure that the
travenous drug use, blood transfusions, Today alone, over 100 colleagues joined Caribbean is not left out of the discus-
and other workplace accidents. the gentlewoman in her efforts to re- sion.
I have heard others say that this introduce the early treatment of HIV/ Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I
deadly virus does not care about the AIDS. yield to the gentlewoman from Texas
color, age, gender or sexual preference We know that too many underinsured (Ms. JACKSON-LEE).
of individuals. However from July 1999 and uninsured Americans do not have Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr.
to June of 2000, African Americans and access to life-saving medications. We Speaker, I congratulate both of my col-
Hispanics have accounted for nearly 70 need to eliminate the barriers to early leagues for this outstanding hour. Mr.
percent of new HIV infections. The dis- drug therapy for vulnerable popu- Speaker, I also want to congratulate
proportionate effects of the virus lations, and this legislation would give the gentlewoman from California (Ms.
among Hispanics and other minorities the States the option to add HIV/AIDS PELOSI). When people hear numbers
today continue to grow. Hispanics cur- to eligible categories for Medicaid cov- like 500 million, then begin to suggest
rently represent 20 percent of all new erage. It is a very important piece of exaggeration, this is a crisis.
AIDS cases, even though we only make legislation. I think it is important to note the
up 13 percent of the United States pop- Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, we have leadership of Dr. Satcher, the U.S. Sur-
ulation. talked about early intervention, early geon General, his leadership on this
intervention; and this legislation issue, and the Office of Minority
b 2200 would enable this to happen. Health; and it will be very important
Hispanics are the fastest growing Mr. Speaker, I rise as a member of that the Secretary of Health and
segment of the U.S. population and the the Asian Pacific American Islander Human Services works with this team,
Centers for Disease Control report that Caucus in joining my colleagues and the gentlewoman from California (Ms.
HIV exposure risks for U.S.-born His- commending the gentleman from Texas PELOSI) and the gentleman from Texas
panics and Hispanics born in other (Mr. RODRIGUEZ) and the gentlewoman (Mr. RODRIGUEZ) and the gentlewoman
countries vary greatly, indicating a from the Virgin Islands (Mrs. from the Virgin Islands and the rest of
need for specifically targeted preven- CHRISTENSEN) for their leadership on us on pursuing this effort in making
tion efforts consistent with the values this important issue. sure that we have these funds to solve
and beliefs of these communities. This Special Order tonight represents this problem. I simply wanted to say
These include language-appropriate the changing face of AIDS. When I that.
educational materials and health care came to Congress 14 years ago this I thank my local community as well,
professionals who have had training on week, thousands of people had already Ernie Jackson and others for their
the cultural factors that can make a died in my district. It was largely a great leadership.
difference in the treatment and preven- gay man’s disease. Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I
tion of this disease among Hispanics We tried to teach the rest of the thank all my colleagues who have par-
and minorities all across the country country what we learned about preven- ticipated. It is an issue on which we all
and the world. tion, care, and research. Some of the need to take ownership. It is about all
H2884 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE June 5, 2001
of us. It has an impact on all of us. It those seen in sub-Saharan Africa. A recent no longer a serious threat. Moreover, while
is throughout the world. If we have CDC study reported that 30 percent of gay those strides were real, the medical miracles
these kinds of dangerous, infectious black men between ages 23 and 29 were HIV- that were discovered were not available to ev-
diseases throughout the world, we need positive. Among HIV-positive women in Illinois, eryone. The high cost of drugs and the lack of
to go after them. more than 80 percent are non-white—a sta- availability of adequate quality healthcare re-
Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Mr. Speaker, tistic that could not more starkly demonstrate main significant barriers to real progress.
today I rise to express my concern about the the disproportionate havoc that HIV/AIDS is As we look back over these twenty years
HIV/AIDS global pandemic. While this disease wreaking in communities of color. we see an all too real killing field of lives lost
devastates the citizens of Sub-Saharan Africa, While I commend the administration for its across the globe. An estimated 21.8 million
we also need to direct our attention to the ris- focus on HIV/AIDS in Africa, more must be people have died as a result of this virus. Cur-
ing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S. done to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS in minority rently, 36.1 million people are living with HIV/
Today, Mr. Speaker, in addition to accounting communities in this country. The President’s AIDS; almost half of those diagnosed are
for more than half of the cumulative HIV/AIDS budget takes a step backwards in the fight women, and over 1.6 million are children. I ap-
cases, people of color also represent two against HIV/AIDS by freezing the Ryan White plaud the recent efforts of major pharma-
thirds of new HIV/AIDS cases reported in this AIDS program funding. This is the first time ceutical companies through the ‘‘Accelerating
country. Ryan White funding has not been increased Access’’ and ‘‘Secure The Future’’ initiatives
In the U.S., two lives are lost every hour in since the programs inception. that offer hope to African patients in nine
the war against HIV/AIDS. Twenty years ago The second lesson we learned from the is countries both in terms of access to new
today, the CDC reported 5 cases of AIDS. that HIV/AIDS knows no national boundaries. medications at realistic costs and the develop-
However, as of June 2000, there were seven Sub-Saharan Africa is being ravaged by HIV/ ment of an infrastructure system that can de-
hundred fifty three thousand nine hundred and AIDS. More than 25 million Africans are now liver care. I am also encouraged to see and
seven reported cases of AIDS in the U.S. Of living with HIV and last year alone, 2.4 million hear the commitment of this Administration to
these reported cases, AIDS has claimed the Africans died from the disease. We must as- the cause of fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa.
lives of four hundred and thirty-eight thousand sist Africa in its fight against HIV/AIDS or we In the United States the casualty list from
nine hundred and seventy-five American citi- will reap what we sow. HIV/AIDS is smaller yet no less significant. Ac-
zens. World-Wide the figure is twenty-two mil- The third lesson HIV/AIDS taught us is that cording to the latest study released by the
lion. HIV/AIDS is that no group is protected. During CDC, almost 754,000 people are living with
The exponential growth in deaths, clearly in- the early stages of the HIV/AIDS epidemic HIV/AIDS in the US: 438,795 people have
dicate that the time for action is now. Although many naively believed that HIV/AIDS was a died from HIV/AIDS over the past twenty
technology, medicine, and research have in- ‘‘gay man’s disease.’’ This mistake led to a years. HIV/AIDS has become the leading
creased the life span of HIV positive victims, false sense of security among many who were cause of death for African Americans between
I am concerned about the staggering number actually engaging in risky behaviors such as the ages of 25 and 44. African Americans are
of new AIDS cases in the US. In the last dec- IV drug use and unprotected sex. Unfortu- 10 times more likely than whites to be diag-
ade, the proportion of all AIDS cases reported nately, many were infected before they real- nosed with HIV/AIDS and also 10 times more
among adult and adolescent women more ized they were at risk. We must not make this likely to die from it.
than tripled, from 7 percent in 1985 to 23 per- same mistake again. Any increased incidence
New York State and New York City still
cent in 1999, with the most dramatic increase of HIV/AIDS amongst a segment of the popu-
have the largest number of HIV/AIDS in the
occurring among women of color. Among 15– lation is unacceptable.
country and, my congressional district has the
24-year-olds, AIDS is the 7th leading cause of Finally, the fourth lesson HIV/AIDS has
highest incidence of new HIV/AIDS cases of
death. These figures highlight the gravity of taught us is that our discomfort with address-
any area in New York City. For example,
the crisis related to HIV/AIDS and its impact ing taboo issues can result in the loss of many
Brownsville has more people living with HIV/
on our country. lives. It is clear that HIV/AIDS is transmitted
AIDS than 12 states. It has the second highest
Mr. Speaker, we are at a crucial time in this through unprotected sex and IV drug use.
number of blacks living with HIV/AIDS in all of
war against HIV/AIDS. Tragically, this disease However, due to this country’s inability to ad-
New York City. In addition, East New York has
debilitates everyone it infects. The most trou- dress many of these sensitive issues, preven-
the third highest population of women living
bling fact is that there are few of us who have tive efforts have suffered. We must openly ad-
with HIV/AIDS. As much as we have done to
been unaffected in some way by this disease. dress risk factors of HIV/AIDS. To let our per-
combat this virus, both in the US and abroad,
Today as we approach the 20th anniversary of sonal discomfort with these subjects stymie
we must do more. That is why I am pleased
HIV/AIDS in the US, I would like to alert my prevention and education is unacceptable.
that local community based organizations like
fellow Americans of the persistent nature of We hold the keys to our fate based on
New World Creations Resource Center, Inc.
this disease. Unfortunately, it has become a these lessons of the past. If we learn from
are sponsoring a rally and march, ‘‘the AIDS
familiar part of America’s culture. I believe we these lessons, we can defeat HIV/AIDS. But,
walk for the Caribbean’’ on July 1 to highlight
must reassess our efforts and recommit our- if we fail to heed our mistakes, we will ulti-
the continuing HIV/AIDS crisis in African-
selves to fighting this illness. We must work mately suffer more death and destruction over
American and Caribbean-American commu-
collectively to promote education, prevention the next twenty years. The future is ours to
nities in New York.
and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Finally, I ask each shape.
of us to stand together to remember the vic- Mr. TOWNS. Mr. Speaker, today is a very I hope that in five years when we mark the
tims who have succumbed to this disease, sad day as we remember what it was like be- next milestone in the history of this dreaded
and those individuals who wage valiant and fore that time twenty years ago when our disease, we have something positive to report.
courageous battles to overcome their affliction. friends and neighbors, acquaintances and co- Until that time, I urge my colleagues to join me
Mr. RUSH. Mr. Speaker, today marks the workers began to fall gravely ill in what should in redoubling our efforts to promote preven-
twentieth anniversary of the first reported HIV/ have been the prime of their lives. It is hard tion, education and treatment for HIV/AIDS.
AIDS cases in the United States. On June 5, to remember that time before we had parades, This is a battle that we must continue for the
1981 Federal researchers reported a baffling rallies, walks and forums specifically devoted future of our nation and for the world at large.
new disease that, over the next 20 years, to raising desperately needed awareness and
would claim more than 20 million lives world- money to pay for potential remedies to battle f
wide, including nearly 11,000 in Chicago and this global pandemic. In the early days it
40,000 in Illinois. The last 20 years have seemed that we fought fear, discrimination, ru- LEAVE OF ABSENCE
taught this country many hard lessons, some mors and gossip almost as much or more than
of which we continue to fail to grasp. the virus itself. Today, while we are still fight- By unanimous consent, leave of ab-
The first lesson we learned was that HIV/ ing those battles, there have been great sence was granted to:
AIDS disproportionately impacts minority com- strides in the efforts to control this insidious ill- Mr. SHERMAN (at the request of Mr.
munities and women. HIV/AIDS has become ness. Nevertheless, this is no time for back- GEPHARDT) for today on account of
the leading cause of death for African-Amer- slapping as the strides that were made are business in the district.
ican men ages 25–44. Gay black men are falling victim to the misguided belief—particu- Mr. BURTON of Indiana (at the re-
contracting HIV/AIDS at rates comparable to larly among young people—that HIV/AIDS is quest of Mr. ARMEY) for today and the