September 19, 2007

A Call For a National AIDS Strategy


More than 100 organizations from across the country are calling for the next President to commit to ending the AIDS epidemic in America.

The groups, which include AIDS Action Washington, Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York City and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, have issued a “Call to Action” that has been presented to all Presidential candidates.

It asks that every Presidential candidate commit to developing a results-oriented national AIDS strategy designed to significantly reduce HIV infection rates, ensure access to care and treatment for those who are infected and eliminate racial disparities.

“More than 1.7 million HIV infections and over half a million deaths into the domestic AIDS epidemic, our government still does not have a comprehensive plan to respond effectively,” said Rebecca Haag , Executive Director of AIDS Action.

“The wealthiest nation in the world is failing its own people in responding to the AIDS epidemic at home. Our country must develop what it asks of other nations it supports in combating AIDS: a comprehensive national strategy to achieve improved and more equitable results.”

The groups, in a joint statement on Monday said that the call to action is the result of "the lack of an outcome-based response to HIV domestically.

This, the groups said, has lead to unacceptable results - half of people with HIV are not in care, there is a new infection every 13 minutes, infection rates have not fallen in more than 15 years, and dramatic racial disparities are becoming even more pronounced.

"America’s response to AIDS is not serving those most in need,” said Phill Wilson, Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute.

It's hard to get anyone's attention on Capitol Hill anymore (if one ever could) without representing a large voting block or waving a large check. This is yet another example of a so-called "Christian Nation" ignoring Jesus' commands to take care of the poor and sick.

Those of us who are not poor and sick need to work toward making this issue harder to ignore.

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