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Cover Letter

December 2007

Dear Friend,

The Black AIDS Institute is pleased to send you this complimentary copy of the first in a series of educational briefs on the 2008 race for the White House -- We Demand Accountability: The 2008 Presidential Elections and the Black AIDS Epidemic. This report is the latest in a series of reports and news articles, published as a part of the National Black AIDS Mobilization (BAM) campaign that will help Black America hold elected officials accountable for ending the Black AIDS epidemic.

Ending AIDS is about leadership -- personal, professional and political leadership. We have aggressively called upon Black America to take responsibility for our own health and that of our communities. And part of that responsibility is insisting that our elected officials also do their part to help us end this epidemic.

As we dive now into the primary season, We Demand Accountability empowers Black voters to engage elected officials by:

  • Educating Black voters on the key questions that they should expect any candidate for elected office to answer about HIV/AIDS in our community;
  • Putting the campaigns and candidates on notice that Black America will expect them to not only be aware of the problem but to have a plan for dealing with it; and
  • Educating voters on what the current presidential candidates have and have not contributed to the fight against AIDS in Black America.

We sent written surveys to each of the 16 declared Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in October 2007. We Demand Accountability summarizes the candidates' positions based on answers to the survey, previously published evaluations of candidates on AIDS more broadly and the candidates' own public statements and platforms.

A review of the overall field of candidates in the Democratic and Republican parties provides a stark comparison. All eight Democratic candidates have robust public records on the core questions; there is scant information available on any of the questions for all of the Republicans. What information is available about the Republican candidates does not bode well for the Black epidemic in America.

Some notable differences between the parties are:

  • Six Democrats have committed to drafting a national strategy to end AIDS; only one Republican has done so.
  • All three front-running Democrats -- Sen. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama -- have published AIDS plans that stress the import of addressing the epidemic's racial disparities; no Republican candidate has done so.

Among the top-tier Democrats, conversely, there is great similarity. All agree on basic principles of targeting resources to address the Black epidemic, putting science ahead of ideology and politics, and building a national strategy with goals to which we can all be held accountable.

There are, however, notable differences in details among the leading Democrats:

  • Obama's record on encouraging HIV testing among Blacks far outstrips all other candidates: He and his wife, Michelle, have been publicly tested and have spoken forcefully about testing's import.
  • Clinton, both in response to the survey and in her subsequently published AIDS platform, has made the most forceful commitment to working with Black faith leaders to address the epidemic.

Stay Tuned for More

The Black AIDS Institute will continue to follow the presidential elections throughout 2008, both on its website -- -- and through reports in other Black media outlets. Getting informed is the first step in getting engaged. And We Demand Accountability gives Black voters the information we need to get engaged politically on AIDS. We hope you enjoy the report and we look forward to continuing this dialogue over the coming months.

Yours in the Struggle,
Phill Wilson
CEO, Black AIDS Institute

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This article was provided by The Black AIDS Institute. It is a part of the publication We Demand Accountability. Visit Black AIDS Institute's website to find out more about their activities and publications.