Gay activists have welcomed the reauthorisation of the Ryan White Care Act by the US House of Representatives.

The Act provides medical and psychosocial services to people living with HIV/AIDS, it is named after a boy who was expelled from school for having AIDS, and dedicated his life to helping sufferers and proving that it is not a ‘gay disease.’

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, described the initiative as an important lifeline for low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS.

He said: “We are extremely pleased Congress approved the reauthorisation of the Ryan White CARE Act and now it is on its way to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“As this bill faced being caught in a political play at the 11th hour, thousands of those in our community flooded the US Capitol with calls demanding passage. It is because of the tireless work of GLBT Americans and HIV/AIDS advocates across this country that this lifeline for more than half a million low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS remains intact.

“We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge our champions in both the House and Senate who have been there from the beginning and continued standing with us at the end to secure passage of the Ryan White CARE Act.”

More than half of all Americans who received an HIV/AIDS diagnosis in 2004 were men who had sex with men, according to a poll from the Centre for Disease Control.

The research also found that the number of HIV diagnoses for men who had sex with men decreased during the 1980s and 1990s, but recent data showed an increase in HIV diagnoses for this group more recently.