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John Ashcroft: AIDS Accelerator

January 26, 2001

Washington, DC -- John Ashcroft's record on HIV/AIDS is abysmal, and George W. Bush's nomination of Ashcroft represents a threat to people living with HIV/AIDS and efforts to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

"John Ashcroft has a long record of opposing HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs and has voiced extremely narrow views of the gay community and the AIDS epidemic, appointing him to the office of Attorney General is like using gasoline to douse a forest fire," said Claudia French, executive director of AIDS Action.

"Not only am I deeply troubled about whether, as Attorney General, he will actively enforce the American with Disabilities Act, an essential protection for people living with HIV/AIDS, John Ashcroft's profound insensitivity to the issue of drug abuse and its treatment demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the intersection of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention," French added.

Despite the bill's wide bipartisan support, as a Senator, Ashcroft twice refused to co-sponsor the Ryan White CARE Act reauthorization, which improved access to and quality of health care and provided for the development of increased capacity to health care and related support services to individuals and families with HIV disease. He also voted to freeze spending on Ryan White HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs for five years.

In addition, Ashcroft voted against an amendment to the Budget Reconciliation Act (S 1357) to guarantee coverage under the Medicaid program for low-income aged, blind, and disabled individuals - including people living with with HIV/AIDS - eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits. Ashcroft also voted to cut off funding for local gay community health centers that provide care to men, women, and children with HIV/AIDS.

Ashcroft has also voted to cut millions of dollars from treatment programs, opposing an amendment in 1995 to restore $100 million in funding for alcohol and drug abuse programs.

"The AIDS epidemic is not going to go away and now is not the time to abandon the fight for a cure and the battle to prevent infection," added French. "As Attorney General, John Ashcroft would seriously undermine efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, accelerating the HIV infection rate and putting the health of all Americans in jeopardy."

Click here for more of John Ashcroft's record on HIV/AIDS related issues (pdf format).

or call: 202-530-8030

This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
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