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'97 National AIDS Strategy Fails To Address Political, Budgetary Reality

Statement of Christine Lubinski
Deputy Executive Director, AIDS Action

December 17, 1996

Contact: Joe Zuñiga, AIDS Action
(202) 986-1300

The long-awaited 1997 National AIDS Strategy released today by the Clinton administration reads more like a record of accomplishment and litany of ongoing activities than as a strategic plan to combat AIDS in the next Clinton term and beyond. The much-touted strategy reflects little of the real challenges that now face us in the face of promising new AIDS treatments and their implications for HIV prevention, counseling and testing programs; and the whole array of access to care and supportive services programs, including safe and appropriate housing. Moreover, the document is missing a political and budgetary context - the continuing attacks on people living with HIV and AIDS and the population groups at high risk for HIV, and the Clinton administration's adoption of a balanced budget plan which would seem to allow little room to respond to the complex and growing needs of this epidemic. The civil rights section is notably weak, and the report is shockingly silent about the availability of federal funds to realize those goals which it does identify. There is no acknowledgement of the reauthorization of the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program which is slated for the 105th Congress. And, once again, the Clinton administration skirts support for the most compelling HIV prevention strategy we have - syringe exchange programs for intravenous drug addicts.

The AIDS epidemic has seen more than its share of reports and action plans. The leadership of the Clinton administration on the AIDS epidemic, like that of the Bush and Reagan administrations, will be judged by AIDS Action and others not by the content of their reports, but by the concrete steps that are taken to care for those living with HIV and AIDS, to prevent further infections, and to meet the challenge of finding effective treatments and a vaccine. The upcoming release of President Clinton's balanced budget plan and its fiscal year 1998 budget will demonstrate more about the Clinton administration's commitment and resolve to ending AIDS than this or any other written plan.

AIDS Action is dedicated solely to defeating the AIDS epidemic and improving the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of HIV-infected Americans. AIDS Action represents all people living with HIV and AIDS and over 1,400 community-based AIDS service organizations that serve them.

For more information, contact:
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3053
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
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