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AIDS Action Weekly Update

Novmber 22, 1996

Welcome to AIDS Action Council's Weekly Washington Update, an on-line newsletter that reviews what is happening in Washington on AIDS policy issues each week. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at the e-mail address listed below.

House Leadership Assignments Finalized

The House of Representatives selected their leaders this week in Washington, with few changes from the 104th session of Congress. Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Dick Armey (R-TX), and Tom DeLay (R-TX) will continue in their respective posts as Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, and Majority Whip. On the Democratic side, Representatives Richard Gephardt (D-MO) and David Bonior (D-MI) remain as Minority Leader and Minority Whip. Representative Bob Livingston (R-LA) retained the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee and Representative John Kasich (R-OH) will stay on as chair of the Budget Committee. Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) was unsuccessful in her bid to be named ranking minority member of the Budget Committee which has jurisdiction over Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Selected instead was more conservative Representative John Spratt (D-SC). In a disappointing blow to the AIDS community, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), a long time supporter of AIDS issues, opted not to remain on as ranking member of the Health and Environment Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over the reauthorization of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reform, reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, the Ryan White CARE Act, HIV prevention, and federal substance abuse and health programs. Representative Waxman has chosen to become ranking member of the full Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. Possible replacements for Waxman on the Health and Environment Subcommittee include the rather conservative Representative Ralph Hall (D-TX) as well as more liberal Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), and Bill Richardson (D-NM). Remaining committee assignments will be made by the GOP Steering Committee and Democratic Steering Committee when Speaker of the House Gingrich announces the ratios of Republicans to Democrats on each of the panels.

The Senate is scheduled to select their leadership and committee assignments during the week following Thanksgiving. As in the House, the leadership positions are not expected to change.

Sanchez Holds On To Lead Over Dornan Representative-elect Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), who as of this writing maintains a 665-vote lead over Representative Robert Dornan (R-CA), attended the House orientation for new members last Saturday, November 16, in Washington, D.C. Dornan, well known for his attacks on Gays, people with AIDS, and President Clinton, has requested that California Secretary of State investigate his allegations of voter fraud, claiming that some of the voters may not have been U.S. citizens. Representative Dornan's request has been forwarded to the Secretary of State's Investigations Unit for preliminary review to determine whether the allegations merit an investigation. In his usual caustic manner Dornan was quoted in the Wall Street Journal this week as stating, "What beat me was more homosexual money than in any race in history, including from a group called Lesbians for Motherhood." A Political Action Committee report reveals that as of October 16, Gay and AIDS groups have given $2,000 to the Sanchez campaign, and the group "Lesbians for Motherhood" were not among those listed.

CDC Draws Link Between HIV And Other STDS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has distributed a packet of information addressing the current status of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States and the link between HIV and other STDs. The information in the packet concludes that similar risk behaviors lead to high concentrations of HIV and other STDs in the same regions of the country, that epidemiological and biological studies clearly define the hypothesis that STDs facilitate HIV transmission, and that STD treatment has a hand in slowing the spread of HIV. The information further concludes that prevention, detection, and treatment of STDs are essential components of HIV prevention. There are an estimated 12 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year and of these, 3 million occur among teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19. Approximately 40,000 to 60,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year with an estimated 25 percent of these occuring in individuals younger than 22 years old. Clearly more must be done to ensure that communities have the information they need to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive approaches to both HIV and STD prevention programming.

For more information contact:
Lisa White
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Ave., NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council. It is a part of the publication AIDS Action Weekly Update.