Friday, November 30, 2007

Democratic Presidential Candidates Respond To Questions About Needle-Exchange Programs, Sex Education

aidsvote.gifFrom Kaiser Daily: Most Democratic presidential candidates would support lifting a ban on federal funding for needle-exchange programs and replacing abstinence-only sex education with comprehensive HIV prevention programs if elected, according to a survey released Wednesday ahead of World AIDS Day, the AP/Sioux City Journal reports. The survey was conducted by AIDS Project of Central Iowa, Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa and several other groups in the state. It included three questions and was sent to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates (AP/Sioux City Journal, 11/29).

The questions are:

  • Do you support the Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA), which expands Medicaid for HIV-positive people who would otherwise need to become completely disabled in order to qualify for Medicaid-covered services?
  • Do you support the replacement of funding for international and domestic "abstinence only" HIV prevention programs with scientifically based, comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education programs?
  • Do you support access to sterile syringes, as a means of protecting public health, by lifting the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange? (Survey text, 11/28).
Among the Democratic candidates, Sen. Joe Biden (Del.), former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson met the deadline for the survey and all answered "yes" to the three questions. Answers from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) were too late to be included in materials distributed by the coalition. However, her campaign "did respond 'yes' to the questions" after the deadline, Becky Johnson with the AIDS Project of Central Iowa said.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both of whom are running for the Republican presidential nomination, declined to answer the questionnaire. The remaining Republican and Democratic candidates did not respond, according to the AP/Journal.

The coalition in a statement said there has been a "lack of leadership at all levels that has allowed HIV to continue to spread through inaction and failed promises." The other agencies involved in the questionnaire include the American Red Cross Central Iowa Chapter, Lutheran Services in Iowa Refugee Cooperative, Urban Dreams, Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network and Creative Visions (AP/Sioux City Journal, 11/29).

The survey is available online.


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