Michael Crawford

What About AIDS?

Filed By Michael Crawford | October 21, 2007 1:10 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: campaign 2008, HIV/AIDS, LGBT

The 2008 presidential candidates, at least the Democrats, have answered questions about their positions on a wide range of issues important to the LGBT community including repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, relationship recognition and hate crimes, but, what about AIDS?

Thus far in the 2008 election cycle, AIDS has not gotten a huge amount of attention though the disease continues to kill thousands of Americans a year and those infected struggle to afford the expensive drugs that prolong their lives. 1.2 million Americans are currently infected with HIV and a new infection occurs every thirteen minutes. The U.S currently has no comprehensive plan to end the AIDS crisis.

Enter two grassroots campaigns to elevate the issue and demand that the presidential candidates from both side of the aisle announce their plans for ending the AIDS crisis: AIDSVote and National AIDS Strategy.

AIDSVote, a project focused on educating candidates about HIV/AIDS issues and educating voters about where the candidates stand on those issues. AIDSVote is a project of Campaign to End AIDS national grassroots organizing and advocacy project dedicated to ending AIDS through mobilization and advocacy led by people living with HIV/AIDS and members of the communities hardest-hit by the epidemic.

You can read AIDSVote 10 point platform for ending the epidemic here.

You can sign the AIDSVote demanding"universal access" to end the AIDS epidemic here.

AIDSVote also has tools that anyone concerned about HIV and its impact on our country and our planet can use to urge the presidential candidates to step up and create real plans to effectively deal with the issue. You can find those tools here.

National AIDS Strategy is a coalition of more than 100 organizations urging every Presidential candidate to 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.

You listen to an interview with National AIDS Strategy leaders on The Agenda with Joe Solmonese here.

"It is unconscionable that the United States, which has all the necessary resources to end the AIDS epidemic, does not have a comprehensive plan to stop AIDS deaths, reduce infections, and get people the medical care that they need," said Robert Bank, Chief Operating Officer of Gay Men's Health Crisis, (GMHC) in New York.

Ditto that.

Its beyond time that we have a comprehensive strategy focused on prevention, research and treatment to end AIDS.

What are you going to do to ensure that AIDS is an issue that the presidential candidates can't spin their way out of?

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Michael, your point is well taken ... but to be fair, both Hillary and Barack Obama have spoken out about escalating the fight against HIV/AIDS, on the African continent and domestically. For example, in the Democratic debate hosted by Tavis Smiley at Howard University on June 28, interrogator Michel Martin of NPR included a question about HIV/AIDS --- and, I think it is safe to say, Hillary and Obama offered the best composed and most aggressive answers.

Of course, making an impressive statement and following through are two different things ... as are responding to questions versus taking an initiative charge.

I remember following Bill Clinton's bus tour with ACT UP in 1991 and constantly questioning him "What about AIDS!?!" Maybe we should organize the same type of thing for this election cycle too...

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 22, 2007 10:54 AM


We definitely need more bird-dogging of the candidates around HIV/AIDS.