Ryan White Voices
Matthew McClain was an early advocate in the epidemic, helping assist with Philadelphia’s HRSA-funded AIDS Demonstration Grants. He recalls the shift from complete chaos and zero funding to developing the building blocks and foundation of what would become the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, and the hope that it brought. “Even though our first-year grant was tiny, at the time we just thought it was an incredible victory, [and] we saw an immediate impact on the community,” recalls McCain, who today is a consultant for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health AIDS Activities Coordinating Office Part A grantee. “We took the E in CARE Act—the emergency part—seriously to get the money out fast, so organizations could immediately treat and respond to HIV,” McClain explains. And today, though shifts in demographics, funding, treatment, and technological advances have taken place, it’s always been HRSA helping lead the way and people like McClain whose support the program relies.