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We All Need to Stand Up to Defend HIV Medical Care in the Trump Era

By Tim Hinkhouse

November 18, 2016

Hello there readers:

Here it is post-election, and when I heard that the new guy was elected into the White House and not Hillary Clinton, I felt as if a relative had died that I'll miss tremendously. Like a lot of the country today, I have been walking around in a haze of confusion, sadness and anger and am mourning the loss of my dignity.

When this man's wife was speaking recently, she was talking about wanting to end bullying, and I was shaking my head and asking my television, don't you know who your husband is? This guy is now the leader of this great nation and a bully! I can't wait to see who is the first foreign leader he will offend and call out for a war with. If a tweet can get him going at 3 a.m., we are all in trouble! Does anyone else get the feeling that the USA will be at war with multiple former allies in 2017? I feel for the youth that will be on the front lines of those unnecessary battles created by a hot head with a big mouth! Will Congress make him take a mandatory anger management class before he takes office? Someone help?

This morning I was listening to Hillary Clinton giving her concession speech, and it was very emotional for her. I had tears in my eyes while she was talking. I was working this morning cutting hair, and it was hard to see what I was doing through my tears. Even though she is a politician who made lots of mistakes in her 30-plus-year career, she did good things for HIV/AIDS, I'm told. Her foundation gave away lots of money for research and drug development.

I had hopes that she would do something to follow in Obama's footsteps in criminal justice reform by signing bills to free up prison beds and actually rehabilitate people. She had the passion to do the right thing, I think. As an inmate, I feel my opportunity slipping away to have a chance to get out before I am 80 years old. The way the new president-elect has been speaking about "law and order" and punishing people scares me. For goodness sakes, he threatened to lock up Hillary when he got into office. What kind of hope would that give if you were in my place? Don't get me started on what I have heard about his connection to the private prison companies ...

Has there been anything publicly said about the president-elect and his thoughts on continued funding for HIV/AIDS? He said he will repeal the Affordable Care Act and "replace it with something better!" What exactly will that be? How will that affect the health of all the people with HIV seeking treatment? Will his new health policy, including his trickle-down economics plans that he swears will work, only benefit the top 1%?

There has been no confidence instilled into me by the president-elect about where he will take the country based on all of his campaign promises/threats about how he will kick off his first term as our president or dictator. I know he isn't a politician, and to me his lack of experience in everything except business leaves me hoping that he is surrounded by advisors that will keep a tight leash on him!

Is anyone else nervous about Vladimir Putin embracing the results of the election? Why is the Russian president open to relations with the U.S. now? Could be that he wants the sanctions lifted from his country so its economy can get back going again? I won't trust someone that will punish anyone for liking the same sex partner and locking them up. I'll support tolerance and acceptance, not discrimination and persecution.

No matter which way you voted, we are stuck with who we've got for the next four years. If you want change, you must act on what you want changed. Don't complain that someone else won't change it for you! Even though I am in prison, I will do my part to have my voice heard and be an activist speaking out against things that need to be changed. We can't let the new regime take away our medical care to keep treating our chronic HIV disease, and we all need to stand up to defend that.

I want to encourage you to stay strong in your principles and remember to respect each other. As a community of HIV positive people, we need to support each other. Thank you for reading this!

Stay healthy and stay safe.

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HIV on the Inside

Tim Hinkhouse

Tim Hinkhouse

I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.

Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
Two Rivers Correctional Inst.
82911 Beach Access Rd.
Umatilla, OR 97882

You can also email me at hi.timothy7019

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