Thursday, June 28, 2007

Governor Richardson on HIV/AIDS

At the Democratic presidential debate at Howard University tonight, candidates were asked about their plans to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in the African-American community (since the debate focused on issues of importance to African-Americans). Bill Richardson was the only candidate who answered the question directly, and the only one to speak in favor of a needle exchange program.

Here are the facts on HIV/AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that African Americans have

  • More illness. Even though blacks (including African Americans) account for about 13% of the US population, they account for about half (49%) of the people who get HIV and AIDS.
  • Shorter survival times. Blacks with AIDS often don’t live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups with AIDS. This is due to the barriers mentioned above.
  • More deaths. For African Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death.

[...]

For black men, the most common ways of getting HIV are (in order)

  1. having unprotected sex with another man who has HIV
  2. sharing injection drug works (like needles or syringes) with someone who has HIV
  3. having unprotected sex with a woman who has HIV

For black women, the most common ways of getting HIV are (in order)

  1. having unprotected sex with a man who has HIV
  2. sharing injection drug works (like needles or syringes) with someone who has HIV

HIV/AIDS is a disease that ravages the African-American community and Bill Richardson is the best candidate to help fight the war against the disease. Here is what Bill Richardson has done as Governor of New Mexico:

• Created the Billy Griego HIV and AIDS Act, which was designed to ensure that consumers are the focus of the funding and services provided in all the state's HIV and AIDS cases.

• Created the state's first HIV and AIDS Policy Commission charged with reviewing and making recommendations on state HIV and AIDS policies. The commission also studies and makes recommendations on all factors affecting the availability, quality and accessibility of health services for persons with HIV and AIDS.

Bill Richardson believes we can successfully fight the AIDS epidemic. As President, Bill Richardson's plan includes having his Vice-President serve as chair of the HIV/AIDS Commission.

Bill Richardson knows that we need to do everything possible to stop the spread of HIV not only here in America but also around the world, especially in Africa. I'm pretty sure he called it a moral imperative during the debate tonight.

Bill Richardson's plan for HIV/AIDS includes:

o Educating people in Africa and elsewhere on how to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS.
o Making condoms and clean needles available to those who might otherwise contract the disease.
o Ensuring that everybody in the world who is HIV positive has all the medication they need. Bill Richardson believes public-private partnerships should be formed to reduce costs and enhance access to AIDS medicine and treatment.

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