As I watched the Republican debates this week, I could not help but notice the total lack of any discussion about the state of HIV/AIDS in the nation or the world at large. It is very important for all of us to remember that although there have been great strides made and many battles fought and won, that the epidemic is not over.
HIV/AIDS affects the lives of every American whether directly or indirectly and we must remain vigilant and steadfast in our advocacy and support for those living with and dying from the virus.
As educators, activists, family members, researchers and patients, we need observe presidential politics and hold the politician’s feet to the fire to ensure that support from our government to eradicate the epidemic does not diminish or waiver.
With that being said, I came across an article which discusses how the candidates stack-up regarding HIV/AIDS.
Please read on…
The 2016 presidential campaign is already heating up with Election Day still more than 500 days away. While the race is still in the early stretch of primary season, HIV advocates should start looking for the best candidates on HIV/AIDS issues. Several candidates have already joined the race: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seek the Democratic nomination, and the Republican field is already crowded with official announcements from with Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee.
Key legislation such as the Ryan White Act or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can be fundamentally altered depending on who is in the Oval Office, impacting the ability for people living with HIV to obtain optimal medical care. There is also evidence that structural issues such as poverty, lack of housing, and HIV stigma can contribute to HIV testing rates or HIV risk behavior, all factors that can be influenced by the Executive Branch. At this point in the election cycle, it is unclear how each candidate will approach issues related to health care reform, HIV prevention and treatment, or reducing income or housing disparities in the United States. However, we can look at previous statements and actions to get a sense of candidates’ positions on important issues to our community.