||ACTUP Dogs Prez on AIDS Positions
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"Texas is the worst state in the Union for AIDS anything. Don't get sick in Texas."
-Larry Kramer, AIDS Activist
AIDS in Texas:
- Texas ranks forth in recorded AIDS cases, behind only California, New York, and Florida. [Poz MAGAZINE. SEPTEMBER, 1999]
- As of Dec 1999, over 22,000 Texans were reported to be living with AIDS. Just under ten thousand Texans with AIDS have died under G.W. Bush's watch as governor. [Rothman- Los Angeles Times, 12/6/99]
- In 1997, AIDS continued to be the leading cause of death for all Texans aged 25-44. [Texas AIDS Network, "Facts about HIV/AIDS in Texas and the U.S.]
- Though HIV infection rates continue to rise, Texas spending on HIV services remained level for eight of the last nine years, resulting in a per capita cut. [Poz Magazine. September, 1999]
- Texas exceeds the national average of people diagnosed with AIDS. While rates of AIDS plummeted across the country in the mid-90s due to approval of effective new AIDS drugs, AIDS rates in Texas actually increased. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
- Despite soaring infection rates in Hispanic communities, the state has dramatically decreased its funding to AIDS organisations in the Hispanic community. [Poz Magazine. September, 1999]
- The rate of AIDS cases among African American women in Texas is over 11 times higher than the rate for white women.
- Texas' HIV infection rate exceeded the national average in 1996, 1997, and 1998. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "HIV and AIDS Surveillance Reports," Year-end 1996-year -end 1999 editions]
- Bush exclusively supports abstinence-only sex education, an education method that has never been proven effective in reducing the spread of HIV or other STDs, and has never been proven to reduce number of teenage pregnancies. One in four new cases of HIV infection in the US occur in people younger than 22 years old. But Bush refuses to support sex education programs that stress widely accepted, effective sex education practices such as condom use. According to Bush, if "young people avoid sex until they are in a 'biblical marriage relationship,' that is all that is all the HIV prevention they need."
- In 1995 Bush supported the refusal of a $1.35 million three-year grant for AIDS education from the CDC. Without consulting the Texas School Board, Bush's appointee as Texas Education Commissioner, Mike Moses told the Centers for Disease Control that the grant money would gag Texas schools, and prevent them form doing abstinence-only sex-ed. When the CDC informed Moses that he was mistaken, the Bush administration accepted the grant. [Austin American-Statesman, 1/12/96, 11/29/95; Editorial 12/1/95; UPI 1/11/96; Houston Chronicle 11/17/95]
- In 1995, the Texas Health Commissioner's (David Smith's) plan to apply for a $500,000 schools grant for the CDC to fund existing health programs in public schools, including AIDS education, was quickly squelched by the Bush administration. [Austin American-Statesman 11/29/95; Editorial, Austin American-Statesman 12/1/95]
AIDS and Health Care
- In 1997, with one of every four residents lacking health insurance, Texas tied Arizona for the lowest coverage. 39.1 percent of children--about 1.5 million--lack health care. [http://www.protex.org/altbudg.htm]
- "Texas has had one of the nation's worst public health records for decades... The state ranks ear the top in the nation in rates of AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis and teenage pregnancy, and near the bottom in immunisations, mammograms and access to physicians. But since George W. Bush became governor in 1995, he has not made health priority, his aides acknowledge. He has never made a speech on the subject, his press office says. His administration opposed a patient's bill of rights in 1995 before grudgingly accepting one in 1997, and fought unsuccessfully to limit access to the new federal Children's Health Insurance Program in 1999." [Adam Claymer. The New York Times. April 11, 2000]
AIDS in Prison
- In 1997, AIDS remained the leading cause of death in Texas prisons. The number of HIV-positive inmates in Texas prisons, as well as the number of inmate deaths from AIDS, was also "on the upswing." [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/19/97; San Antonio Express News, 12/28/97]
- Over the last five years in Texas (fiscal 1993-1998), public safety/corrections spending grew 10.7 percent annually on average, compared to a 5.4 percent for education and a 5.5 percent for health and human services. [http://www.protex.org/altbudg.htm]
ACT UP DEMANDS:
- Expansion of the Clinton Executive Order on generic AIDS drugs and sub-Saharan Africa to all least-developed and developing nations. The US Government must not use its economic power to punish poor countries that are pursuing sustainable, self-sufficient solutions to the AIDS crisis.
- The US Government must facilitate access to generic AIDS drugs for poor countries by creating bulk manufacture and distribution of generic medicines to least developed and developing nations. We demand that the US facilitate the manufacture and distribution by an international body such as the World Health Organization of the numerous medications which the US currently retains rights to. Drug company price reductions or 'donation' programs, while potentially useful when not riddled with conditions, are never substitutions for self-sufficient, sustainable solutions to the deadly lack of access to essential AIDS drugs.
- The US Government must immediately and unilaterally cancel the debt of the world's poorest and most AIDS-affected nations, without imposing onerous conditions. Debt relief plans underway already must be accelerated and stripped of structural adjustment requirements.
- The US Government must implement and fund programs so that residents can access effective drug treatment on demand.
- Public schools must straightforward sex education curricula that includes safer sex information.
- US Government drug purchasing should be consolidated under one body to negotiate fair prices from the drug industry.
- Citizens and governments of all nations must be allowed to purchase and import drugs at the best world price.