December 1, 2003
"AIDSVote.org has two goals," according to Michael Kink of New York's Housing Works. "The first is to educate and inform presidential candidates about the concrete steps necessary to ensure our country is the world leader on HIV/AIDS and public health. The second goal is to educate and inform voters on the stands taken by the candidates on these crucial issues."
The Web site includes a model presidential platform on HIV/AIDS, as developed by the groups, to assist presidential candidates in developing their own positions to address the AIDS pandemic in the U.S. and abroad. The site invites organizations and individuals to endorse the model platform. Early next year, the Web site will include responses from all declared candidates to an AIDSVote.org questionnaire on HIV/AIDS issues. Candidate responses will be posted in their entirety as a service to interested voters.
"Our next president must accept the awesome and solemn responsibility to lead the world to end the AIDS pandemic," says Julie Davids of the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization for Power (CHAMP). "Our next president must insist that all people living with HIV receive immediate and high-quality treatment. Our next president must assure that all who are at risk of contracting HIV are provided the best, scientifically proven tools to protect themselves from and educate themselves about HIV infection, regardless of whether they live in South Africa or South Carolina, the South Bronx or South Asia."
"AIDSVote.org is an effort to ensure that AIDS issues figure prominently in the public debate surrounding the 2004 presidential election," says David Munar of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. "With the unabated spread of HIV around the world, fighting AIDS is an issue of national security, economy prosperity, and public health. Presidential candidates need to articulate their plans to fight the pandemic."
"Visit AIDSVote.org now to see what dozens of our leading HIV/AIDS organizations demand of our next president and to endorse our platform," according to Paul Feldman of the National Association of People with AIDS. "Come back to AIDSVote.org in a few weeks to see how presidential candidates respond to questionnaires which will demonstrate the extent of their knowledge of and commitment to ending the AIDS pandemic. AIDSVote.org also provides an easy link for those who need to register to vote online."
"We're uniting all regions of the country and domestic and global AIDS activism with this effort and that's a powerful thing," said Amanda Diers Schall of The AIDS Institute (founded as Florida AIDS Action).
Organizations involved in creating AIDSVote.org include AIDS Foundation of Chicago; The AIDS Institute (founded as Florida AIDS Action); Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization for Power (CHAMP); Health GAP; Housing Works, New York; Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), New York City; the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA); Project Inform; and Stop AIDS Project San Francisco. Organizers expect the list of organizational and individual endorsers to grow as more people learn about the Web site.