With Election Year '96 End Comes Time to Act on AIDS
November 6, 1996
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José Zuniga, (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3042
In an era in which political actions are determined by polls and surveys, the deafening silence around AIDS issues was truly disappointing, as was the failure by candidates to articulate a coordinated response to an epidemic that has claimed more than 320,000 American lives and threatens many more. A September 15 Washington Post poll revealed that silence on AIDS is a tragic mistake. When 61 percent of Americans polled indicate that the worry that "AIDS will become more widespread" ties at No. 2 with the worry that "crime will increase," and ranks only one point below concerns about our educational system, silence should be considered unacceptable. Yet, silence is exactly what was delivered by politicians and the media alike.
Now that the election year frenzy has ended and the American electorate has re-elected Bill Clinton to a second term and maintained a Republican majority (albeit by a narrow margin in the U.S. House of Representatives) in both chambers of Congress, it is once again time to go about the business of fighting the battle against AIDS. In the wake of election year 1996, AIDS Action looks forward to nurturing our relationships with key Clinton administration officials and with members of the Republican-controlled 105th Congress -- relationships which in the 104th Congress resulted in significant AIDS funding increases and successes in defeating blatantly discriminatory measures aimed at people living with HIV and AIDS.
We also look forward to educating new members of the 105th Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, and Clinton administration officials about the importance of fortifying an already fragile AIDS care and social services infrastructure and protecting hard-fought AIDS anti-discrimination gains. With campaigning finally over, AIDS Action urges our elected officials to roll up their sleeves and work in a bipartisan way to find a cure and vaccine for this terrible epidemic, prevent new infections, and adequately care for those already infected. The American people have sent a clear message to our newly elected officials and to those already sitting in an elected office: Your priorities had better reflect what really matters to the American public, and that includes AIDS.
Founded in 1984, AIDS Action Council is dedicated to defeating the AIDS epidemic and improving the quality of life for HIV-infected Americans. AIDS Action Council represents all people with HIV and AIDS and over 1,400 community-based AIDS organizations that serve them.
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.