Connecticut AIDS Groups Criticize Lawmakers’ ‘Indifference’ to HIV/AIDS
The "widespread myth that AIDS is over" has caused some lawmakers to view the HIV/AIDS epidemic with "indifference," according to some AIDS activist groups. The Hartford Courant reports that AIDS groups in Connecticut have banded together to "remin[d]" legislators that HIV-positive individuals need a "wide variety of services," and are lobbying for funding for housing, prevention programs and drugs. Shawn Lang, public policy coordinator for the Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition, said, "Apathy up there (at the state Capitol), whether it's intentional or unintentional, is going to kill us." AIDS groups across Connecticut are asking lawmakers to allocate $2 million toward new HIV prevention programs, expanded eligibility for drug and insurance assistance programs, vitamin supplements, a new community health van and a "variety of measures" providing housing and job training. HIV Action Initiative Executive Director Laurie Sylla warned, however, that AIDS services face "stiff competition for money" in the state budget. She noted that state spending for HIV/AIDS services has "grown very little in recent years," indicating that while HIV "continues to be a growing problem," legislators "expec[t]" it to be taken care of "with the same resources." AIDS groups are calling on their members and others to bring the issue to state lawmakers, urging them to use family, friends and other contacts to do so (Condon, Hartford Courant, 3/14). Last month, more than 350 AIDS activists "flooded" the state Capitol to lobby for additional funds ( Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.