D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray administered the oath of office on Tuesday to 35 members of the Metropolitan Washington Regional Ryan White Planning Council, including five gay men and two transgender women he appointed to the Council this month.
Congress created Ryan White planning councils to serve in metropolitan regions throughout the country as part of the Ryan White AIDS CARE Act of 1990. The act provides federal funds to cities and states for HIV/AIDS treatment and services programs. The D.C. region includes the District, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.
The planning councils, among other things, help cities and states decide how to allocate federal AIDS funds to various local and state HIV/AIDS programs.
Among the gay members Gray appointed this month was Stephen Bailous, executive vice president of the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA). Gray named Bailous as chair of the Council.
The five gay men and two transgender women were among 18 new members of the council Gray appointed this month. He also reappointed 17 existing members, including six gay male members and two lesbian members. Among those reappointed was lesbian health advocate Patricia Hawkins.
Hawkins said the council will have its hands full with work in the coming months, when it must advocate for the interests of the D.C. metropolitan region as Congress begins its process of reauthorizing the Ryan White Act. She said the council will also play a role in overseeing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform measure initiated by President Obama.