April 19, 2012
As we approach the closing of this year's tax season, I wonder how many HIV+ women were able to work to file their tax returns and reap the benefits of a tax refund, probably not many. According to The HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study, they found that women with HIV were disproportionately low income, 64% had annual incomes below $10,000 compared to 41% of men. If 64% of HIV positive women had annual incomes below $10,000 how could they have contributed to the stimulation of the economy by purchasing "big ticketed items" from they're refund check.
If they worked part time and were able to receive a tax refund, more than likely the monies they received went towards necessities not luxury items. HIV positive women deserve to have equitable access to supportive services like transportation, onsite child care for their medical, mental health and case management appointments and quality food banks. These services are the gateway for women to staying into medical care so they can maintain optimal health.
It's important for HIV positive women to have good optimal health so that we can continue to work, and for women who want to return to the work force. This is why I say HIV positive women are a valuable asset for economic growth, for many of us when we feel were contributing to something good whether it is being able provide for our families without the dependency of public benefits, or being paid for our expertise and knowledge in helping to shape policies to create gendered specific HIV treatment and prevention programs we help to stimulate growth in the economy.
As a woman who co-exists with HIV, I would like to see federal and state monies earmarked toward programs for HIV positive women who want to go back to school, or return to work and when they file their income taxes they receive extra credits that will generate a generous return whether if the woman have children or not. With extra monies to spend she'll be able to buy a "big ticket item(s)".
Precious Jackson writes from Los Angeles, Calif.