Obama Renews HIV/AIDS Treatment Funding

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday extending federally-funded HIV/AIDS treatment for hundreds of thousands of underinsured low-income Americans.

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act authorizes a 5 percent annual increase in federal support over the next four years. Funding under the law is slated to rise from over $2.5 billion in fiscal year 2010 to nearly $3 billion in fiscal year 2013.

Among other things, the law helps ensure continued funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative, designed to address "the disproportionate impact of the disease on racial and ethnic minorities," according to a White House statement.

"We face a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic," Obama said at the White House. "This is a battle that's far from over."

The measure easily passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives last week. Similar legislation first passed almost 20 years ago, and was subsequently reauthorized in 1996, 2000 and 2006.

An estimated 1 million people in the United States currently live with the HIV/AIDS virus, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly one quarter of those individuals are not aware that they are infected.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta
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