Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques made the
following statement regarding remarks made by Vice President Cheney during the Vice Presidential Debate about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States.
"Vice President Cheney's ignorance about the HIV/AIDS crisis is
inexcusable," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "When asked about the
effect this epidemic is having on Americans – especially communities of
color – he said he was unaware of the problem."
Jacques continued, "He failed the question, but he's also failed
millions of Americans at risk for or living with HIV infection. The
administration has an abysmal record on the domestic epidemic, cutting
funds for key prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention and failing to adequately fund health care coverage for
people with HIV. Despite this failure to fund, the administration has
found resources to increase funding for abstinence-until-marriage
programs by millions upon millions of dollars – programs that are
unproven, untested and insufficient."
Moderator Gwen Ifill first addressed Vice President Cheney during the
debate, saying, "… I want to talk to you about AIDS, and not about
AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS right here in this country, where
black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to
die of the disease than their counterparts."
Vice President Cheney responded first about the crisis in Africa, but
then answered, "Here in the United States, we've made significant
progress. I have not heard those numbers with respect to
African-American women. I was not aware that it was — that they're in
epidemic there …"
"Cheney was just one of 13 House members to vote against the precursor
to the Ryan White CARE Act in 1988 – the AIDS Federal Policy Act," noted
Jacques. "Unlike the Bush Administration, Senator Kerry and Senator
Edwards are focused on solving our HIV/AIDS crisis. Both cosponsor the
Early Treatment for HIV Act and support full funding for science-based
HIV prevention programs and the Ryan White CARE Act. The Kerry-Edwards
commitment is strong and clear."
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