Democratic Presidential Candidates Should ‘Clarify Plans’ To Address ADAP Situation in South Carolina, Opinion Piece Says
No "other state in the nation faces" an HIV/AIDS "crisis" like the one in South Carolina, which has 470 of the total 529 people on AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting lists, Bambi Gaddist, executive director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, writes in a Columbia State opinion piece. Under a proposed Senate bill debated last year, Ryan White Program funding formulas would have been determined by caseload, ensuring that "rural Southern states like South Carolina got their fair share," according to Gaddist. However, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) "used a procedural block in the Senate to block a vote on the bill," Gaddist writes, adding, "As the senator from New York, she fought for continued set-asides for the nation's largest cities and opposed these necessary reforms." Several other Democratic presidential candidates "served in the Senate at that time, and yet a more equitable funding program failed to pass," according to Gaddist.
Clinton during a recent presidential debate "positioned herself as a champion for HIV/AIDS," Gaddist writes, adding that although she praises Clinton's "discussion of this important issue," she also hopes Clinton "understands that her actions in the Senate were particularly harmful to hundreds of patients in South Carolina." As more presidential debates are held, "those of us who seek to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS" in South Carolina "want to know where the candidates stand," Gaddist writes. She concludes, "We ask Sen. Clinton to clarify her previous opposition to more equitable funding and that all of the Democratic candidates clarify their plans to ensure that hundreds of our HIV-positive citizens in" the state "will never again sit on an AIDS drug waiting list while they support those propositions that benefit only a few" (Gaddist, Columbia State, 7/23).