Washington - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ)and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)today issued a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging him to maintain funding levels for New Jersey's HIV/AIDS population.

In their letter, Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez and the New Jersey House delegation expressed concern over recent cuts to the Ryan White program and urged Secretary Michael O. Leavitt to fully fund the vital program.

The federal Ryan White Program was enacted in 1990 to improve the quality and availability of care for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals and families affected by HIV. The program is named for Ryan White, an Indiana teenager whose courageous struggle brought attention to the needs of people with HIV/AIDS.

Reauthorized three times since its inception -- in 1996, 2000, and 2006 -- the Ryan White Program delivers HIV/AIDS care to over 500,000 people each year across the country. There are more than 32,000 people in New Jersey living with HIV or AIDS.

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