alcee_hastings_web_5.jpgWASHINGTON — Democratic Congressman Alcee L. Hastings of Miramar was recently honored by the ADAP Advocacy Association as “Lawmaker of the Year” for his activism surrounding the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). 

Most recently, Hastings offered an amendment that was incorporated into the full-year Continuing Resolution for fiscal year 2011, which included $883 million in ADAP funding, his office said.

“It is truly an honor to accept the association’s ‘Lawmaker of the Year’ Award and to share the stage with such outstanding leaders in the ongoing struggle to improve access to care and treatment under our nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program,” Hastings said.  “I applaud each and every one of them for all that they do for the AIDS community, the state of Florida and our nation as a whole.”

Hastings noted that the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States was recently observed and said, “The AIDS epidemic remains today, without a doubt, one of the most significant and defining challenges of our time.  Few diseases have left as profound an impact on our families, friends, and communities as HIV/AIDS.”

“Thanks to the tremendous dedication of countless scientists, health care providers, lawmakers, and community leaders, more and more people are living with HIV/AIDS rather than dying from it,” Hastings said.  “And they’re able to have longer, richer lives than ever before because of the advances we’ve made in medical science and health care policy. But, we cannot hope to bring an end to HIV/AIDS if we cannot expand access to treatment.”

The statement from Hastings’ office said 8,615 people with AIDS in 13 states are waiting for the drugs that will keep them alive and Florida continues to top the waiting list with 3,562 people. 

“It is of the utmost importance that we all continue doing our part to support ADAP and other prevention and treatment efforts, including further research and clinical trials,” Hastings said.  “It is unconscionable that, in 2011, a lack of program funding remains a significant barrier to treatment.”

“I remain committed to bringing an end to the ongoing ADAP funding crisis, as well as supporting ADAP and other prevention and treatment efforts so that we may find a way to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic once and for all.”

Hastings has been a longtime advocate for the HIV/AIDS community and continues to support robust funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, including the HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, the National AIDS Strategy, and state ADAPs.

In February, Hastings successfully offered an amendment in the House to help secure much-needed additional funds for ADAP.  Ultimately, an increase of $48 million in funding was included in the full-year Continuing Resolution for FY 2011, which passed on April 14.

Photo: Alcee L. Hastings