U.S. Rep. Berkley Plans To Lobby for Domestic AIDS Funding in Upcoming Congressional Session
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) on Tuesday said that she plans to lobby for additional domestic AIDS awareness and prevention funding when Congress reconvenes next month, the Las Vegas Sun reports. Although Bush in May signed into law in a measure (HR 1298) that authorizes $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, Berkley said that not enough is being done to address the domestic HIV/AIDS problem (Bawany, Las Vegas Sun, 8/20). Bush has increased total federal spending on domestic HIV/AIDS programs -- the Office of Management and Budget says the government will spend $15.1 billion in the current fiscal year, compared with $13.4 billion during Bush's first year in office -- but some advocates say that he is shifting funding away from prevention and toward AIDS testing to avoid dealing with controversial programs, such as programs that teach comprehensive sex education including condom use (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/5). Berkley on Tuesday met with AIDS advocates and patients at the Las Vegas-based not-for-profit Sista to Sista, which conducts AIDS education for minority women. Berkley engaged in a roundtable discussion with members of Sista to Sista and other groups to discuss the epidemic. Participants said that much of the public thinks that HIV/AIDS is a disease that "only affect[s] white males and homosexuals," according to the Sun. Sonya Cheltenham, a board member of Fighting AIDS in Our Community, said that there are "many roadblocks" to educating the public about the disease, including funding and prejudice, the Sun reports. Berkley said, "I'm trying to educate myself so I can do a better job educating my colleagues" (Las Vegas Sun, 8/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.