U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has released a new and expanded action plan that aims to tackle HIV and AIDS in the country and also globally.
Following last week’s 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where Daniel Driffin, a black, gay man living with HIV, made a historic address to the delegates, Clinton’s campaign has unveiled a comprehensive list of objectives, ways and avenues that she as president will pursue to fight HIV and end AIDS as an epidemic within and outside of the U.S.
On top of engaging ‘a wide range of experts, advocates, and stakeholders’ in the U.S. and the rest of the world to adopt timelines, the action plan seeks ‘expand critical programs, remove disparities and barriers to accessing care, and end stigma and discrimination.’
The said programs would include the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which helps expand the global number of people on HIV treatment; various scientific research projects on HIV and AIDS; expansion of use of HIV prevention medications such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); and more.
Clinton also promises to increase access to affordable health care for those living with HIV and AIDS, expand the country’s system of community health centers as well as medical coverage, and to fight to lower the price of medicine by more than 5,000%.
Other issues faced by those living with HIV and AIDS such as housing insecurity, drug addiction, stigma, and discrimination will also be looked into and dealt with.
The action plan also highlights how Clinton has been fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the stigma and discrimination associated with it for decades.
As first lady, Clinton had ‘advocated for increased funding for prevention and research efforts—especially for pediatric AIDS—and honored scientists committed to AIDS research.’
As Secretary of State, Clinton pushed for American aid directly supporting people on antiretroviral treatment to reach more men, women, and children around the world.
In the statement released alongside the action plan, Clinton’s campaign points out that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mark Pence have not proposed a single idea for addressing the domestic and global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
On the contrary, both Trump and Pence seek to defund Planned Parenthood, a critical resource for HIV testing services.
The campaign calls Pence out for his lack of efforts in dealing with the AIDS crisis happening right in his own state of Indiana.
‘Under Mike Pence, Indiana experienced one of the worst HIV epidemics in the past two decades. Despite the fact that Indiana’s recent HIV epidemic was fueled by intravenous drug use, Pence’s rigid, ideological opposition to needle exchange programs stopped him from acting quickly to alleviate suffering in the hardest hit areas,’ the statement says.
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