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Greens call for a comprehensive U.S. plan to fight AIDS

gpos-2.jpg
An AIDS Cure Project; national health insurance; strong health care work forces for
nations hit hard by AIDS; prevention and treatment policies free of corporate demands and ideological restraints

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party leaders called for a comprehensive U.S. plan to fight AIDS nationally and around the world, as the numbers of people living with AIDS rise to 40 million, with 25 million already dead.

Greens listed several urgent steps, calling them the necessary basis for national AIDS policy:

The U.S. must initiate a comprehensive project to find a cure for AIDS.

“To cure AIDS, we need a focused effort that gathers the best minds and gives them the best resources, comparable to the Manhattan Project and the space program.  We’ll cure AIDS when we give it the same national priority the U.S. gave to defeating Japan and placing a man on the moon,” said Tim Casebolt, secretary of the Lavender Green Caucus, which represents the party’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer membership.

Further information: ACT UP AIDS Cure Project Papers, http://www.actupny.org/ACP/ACP.html

Only a single-payer national health insurance program can meet the health care demands of the AIDS crisis in the U.S.; the Green Party places national health insurance at the top of its list of priorities.

“We need a national health insurance program to guarantee that AIDS medicines and treatment get to everyone who needs them,” said Starlene Rankin, Lavender Green Caucus delegate to the Green Party’s National Committee.  “The U.S. may have some of the best medical treatment and technology in the world, but we trail other industrial nations in medical access.  Over 45 million Americans lack health insurance; millions
more are undercovered.  The prevalence of AIDS and other diseases among poor and low income Americans who lack coverage, especially among people of color, makes it urgent that we guarantee quality health care and AIDS treatment on demand to every American, regardless of prior medical condition, income, or age.  Furthermore, a national health insurance plan will give the U.S. government a greater stake in AIDS prevention.”

Further information: Physicians for a National Health Program, http://www.pnhp.org

The U.S. must give AIDS treatment and prevention international priority over corporate profits, intellectual property rights (patents for medicine and genetic information), and privatization of services and resources (e.g., health coverage and treatment; access to clean water), and must help address the critical shortage of health care workers and weak health systems in countries hit hard by the AIDS crisis.

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Clinton and Bush administrations sought economic sanctions against nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that tried to make low cost and generic AIDS drugs available,” said Aimee Smith, co-chair of the Green Party’s Peace Action Committee.  “The U.S. must ensure that human needs, including the need to prevent and treat AIDS, are more important than corporate power and
profit.  President Bush has sent more U.S. financial aid to AIDS-affected countries than any president before him.  For such funding to be effective, it must be free of the demands of corporations, ideological restraints, and bureaucratic red tape, and we must guarantee that a strong health care work force can put the money to work in countries currently without adequate health care.”

Further information: Health GAP (Global Access Project), http://www.healthgap.org/index.html

Greens also call for an end to ideologically based AIDS prevention schemes that have been proven ineffective, such as abstinence-only education and denial of AIDS prevention assistance to nations that fund family-planning programs that allow abortion and contraception.

“We know what works: needle exchange; AIDS prevention education that acknowledges realities like pre-marital sex and same-sex behavior; programs that help give women power to make their own choices.  The Green Party supports these strategies, just as we support full gay rights and equality and uncompromised women’s reproductive rights in the U.S. and throughout the world,” said Alison Duncan, 2006 Green candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York.

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