Increased Government AIDS Funding ‘Broadly Supported’ by Illinois State, Congressional Candidates
Illinois' gubernatorial, Senate and House of Representatives candidates "broad[ly] support" an increase in government funding for AIDS-related programs and services, according to an AIDS Foundation of Chicago survey, a finding that is in "sharp contrast" to the Bush administration's position, according to an AFC release. AFC mailed its survey, which asked about various HIV/AIDS-related public policy issues, to 83 Illinois candidates running in the upcoming primary for state executive offices and the U.S. Senate and House. Four gubernatorial candidates, 31 congressional candidates and several candidates for state attorney general and lieutenant governor returned the survey. The four, of a total six, Illinois gubernatorial candidates who returned the survey all expressed "strong support" for health education programs that incorporate sexuality and HIV prevention education and for increased health care access for HIV-positive individuals. In addition, all four candidates indicated that the state's Medicaid system should be expanded to include "very low-income people with HIV." Illinois' Medicaid program currently only covers low-income people with AIDS. While gubernatorial candidates Paul Vallas (D) and Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood (R) agreed with AFC positions on 82% of the surveyed issues and candidate Ronald Burris (D) agreed with 73%, only gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich (D) agreed with all of AFC's positions. Blagojevich was the only candidate to indicate "unequivocal support" for legislation that would allow the purchase of sterile syringes without a prescription, AFC notes. Vallas and Wood expressed "qualified support" for the measure, and Burris opposed it. The survey results indicated that 90% of federal candidate respondents and 100% of state candidate respondents supported increased government funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, housing and research programs. AFC conducts surveys to provide candidate information for state AIDS activists and the general public and does not endorse candidates. A complete report of the survey findings can be accessed online (AFC release, 2/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.