As long as we have economically repressive policies in this country, we're going to have women at risk for HIV. As we often say, HIV can affect anybody, but it's particularly hard on women who are poor.
Policies that target African-American women on welfare -- like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which in some states requires a negative drug test to qualify for assistance -- put women at an economic disadvantage that can leave them vulnerable to violence, and to HIV, through possibly unprotected "survival sex" and whatever other activities they need to engage in so that they and their families can survive.Show More
In today's economy, where so many people are struggling, to target and penalize people who may have smoked marijuana, rather than providing job training, education, or even recovery services, seems a misplacing of priorities.
And when it comes to access to reproductive health care: Budget cuts routinely shut down state-run family-planning clinics, leaving women with no place to go for regular checkups, to learn about their bodies and what to do with them, how to keep themselves healthy. Furthermore, national reproductive-justice struggles often do not take into account the issues of greatest concern to poor women.